The Broadway-bound production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Oklahoma!, playing a limited engagement and opening on April 7, 2019, has announced its complete cast. The Bard SummerScape production, which comes to Broadway under the direction of Daniel Fish via a successful run at St. Ann’s Warehouse this last fall, will bring most of the cast from that production to the Great White Way. Previews begin on March 19 at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre.
The Broadway berth of Oklahoma! will star original members of the St. Ann’s cast including Anthony Cason as Cord Elam, Damon Daunnoas Curly McLain, James Davis as Will Parker, Gabrielle Hamilton as Lead Dancer, Rebecca Naomi Jones as Laurey Williams, Will Mann as Mike, Mallory Portnoy as Gertie Cummings, Ali Stroker as Ado Annie, Mitch Tebo as Andrew Carnes, two-time Tony Award-nominee Mary Testa as Aunt Eller and Patrick Vaill as Jud Fry. Joining the cast for the Broadway run is star of screen and stage Will Brill (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, You Can’t Take It With You) as Ali Hakim.
“I am delighted to welcome this incredible cast to Broadway,” producer Eva Price said. “This is a group of performers rich with talent and humility. Individually, they bring incredible depth and authenticity to these iconic characters. Together, they form an ensemble that is full of humanity, spirit and inspiration.”
This innovative take on a classic is described as “Oklahoma! as you’ve never seen or heard it before, re-orchestrated and reimagined for the 21st century.” The 1943 musical is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It is remembered as a benchmark in the evolution of the American Musical Theatre, authors Rodgers & Hammerstein reinventing how a score, character development, and plot can grow out of one another (also known as “the integrated musical”).
Based on Lynn Rigg’s 1931 play Green Grown the Lilacs, Oklahoma! tells the story of a young farm woman named Laurey who is being pursued by two very different suitors: the cocky cowboy Curly and the obsessive farmhand Jud Fry. This love triangle builds toward a harrowing conclusion as Laurey must make a choice about what is best for her. Set against the backdrop of the pioneer spirit and the eventual call to make the Oklahoma territory a state, the musical is as American as apple pie. The Rodgers and Hammerstein score is brimming with showtune standards, including the title song, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin”, “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top”, “Kansas City”, “I Cain’t Say No”, and “People Will Say We’re in Love”.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.