There’s a bright golden haze on Franklin County High School as the Choral and Drama Departments present Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” The musical runs 7 p.m. March 14-16 and 2 p.m. March 17 at the school. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.
“Oklahoma!,” the first collaboration between legendary musical theatre duo Rodgers and Hammerstein, debuted on Broadway March 31, 1943, with original choreography by dance pioneer Agnes de Mille. The production has been widely acknowledged for setting a new musical standard, groundbreaking in its seamless integration of story, score and dance.
“It’s such a classic show, with numbers everyone loves,” said director Kate Osterloh. “We just couldn’t resist it when it came time to select this year’s show.”
Osterloh, together for the fifth year with musical director and producer Raye Hurley and choreographer Kara Johnson, are excited to bring a classic to Frankfort, and specifically to teen audiences.
“So many shows are rock and roll oriented, or from Disney, and while they are wonderful, we want our students to understand where musical theater really began. And ‘Oklahoma!’ is it,” said Hurley, who also directs the choirs at FCHS.
Set in Oklahoma territory just after the turn of the 20th century, the high-spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the colorful background against which Curly (Liam O’Donnell), a handsome cowboy, and Laurey (Carrie Arrastia), a winsome farm girl, play out their love story.
Jud (Justin Woolums), the farmhand who works for Aunt Eller (Madeleine Hendrix) and Laurey, also has eyes for Laurey. Adding to the plot is Laurey’s friend Ado Annie (Samantha Wilcox), who just can’t seem to say no to anyone and now has to choose between Will Parker (Taylor Strickland) and Ali Hakim (Ethan Swinford). Also featured are Miranda Meade as Gertie, and Joe Cheek as Andrew Carnes.
The show is known for its innovative choreography, including the dream ballet sequence. It features senior Marina Robson, as Dream Laurey. “It’s a very exciting show to choreograph,” said Johnson. “It has tap, ballet, two-step, traditional square dance – just a great variety of dance styles. It was really fun to teach to the students.”
Rounding out the female chorus cast are Margaret Whitworth, Sarah Aldridge, Devin Harrod, Sydney Hendrix, Rachel Hampton, Jasmine Wilcox, Ann Marie Gabhart, Kadie Adams, Kelsey Rice, Abbey Caudell, Emma King, Alex Hulette, Cheyenne Williams, Hallee Mason, Marjorie Mason, Becca Penn, Megan Little, Katelyn Taylor, Molly Pennington, Amanda Lawrence and Jescinia Goins.
Male chorus members include Daniel Foster, Zack Riddle, Mason Flatt, Courtland Adams, Bryce Prothero, Perry Kring and Cedric Calhoun.