Rodgers and Hammerstein's OKLAHOMA! is to feature as part of Chichester Festival Theatre's 2019 Season this summer.
Handsome cowboy Curly McLain is head over spurs for local farm owner Laurey Williams. But lonely ranch-hand Jud Fry has his sinister sights set on her too.
And Laurey’s not the only girl with cowboy problems. Ado Annie’s beau Will Parker is back from chasing steers in Kansas City, where he won the fifty dollars her father insists Will must have to marry her. But this irrepressible farm girl won’t be bought quite so easily.
Luckily for this love-struck crew of spirited ranchers and bronco busters, wise Aunt Eller is riding ahead of the herd.
With its glorious score and spirit of exuberant optimism, OKLAHOMA! is the American musical by which all others are judged. Rodgers and Hammerstein broke new ground in perfectly integrating music and dance to tell a story whose darker undercurrents never overwhelm its rapturous vitality. Among the unforgettable songs are Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’, The Surrey With The Fringe On Top and the show-stopper Oklahoma.
Jeremy Sams returns to Chichester to direct; his award-winning productions in London and New York include THE WIZARD OF OZ, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, NOISES OFF and SPEND, SPEND, SPEND. Set designs are by Robert Jones whose extensive work at Chichester includes MACK & MABEL and KISS ME, KATE. Choreography is by Matt Cole whose recent work includes FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at the Menier Chocolate Factory and in the West End.
Josie Lawrence, whose stage work ranges from Shakespeare at the RSC and Globe to THE KING AND I in the West End, plays Aunt Eller. Her extensive television credits include WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?, HUMANS and OUTSIDE EDGE, and she makes regular appearances at the Comedy Store.
Also making her Chichester debut, as Laurey, is Amara Okereke, winner of the 2018 Stage Debut Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Cosette in LES MISÉRABLES.
Costume designs are by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, with musical supervision, musical direction and dance arrangements by Nigel Lilley, orchestrations by David Cullen, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Groothuis.
There will be a Relaxed performance of OKLAHOMA! on 29 August at 2.30pm, especially suitable for individuals, groups and families with children on the autism spectrum, sensory and communication disorders or anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed theatre environment.
Music by Richard Rodgers
Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs
Original choreography by Agnes de Mille
Directed by Jeremy Sams
15 July – 7 September, Festival Theatre
Press night: Monday 22 July