Brookville presents classic musical ‘Oklahoma!’

Brookville Community Theatre presents the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein by staging the legendary composing team’s 1943 debut collaboration Oklahoma! beginning Thursday, June 29. CONTRIBUTED

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Brookville Community Theatre presents the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein by staging the legendary composing team’s 1943 debut collaboration Oklahoma! beginning Thursday, June 29. CONTRIBUTED

For the first time in its 31-year history, Brookville Community Theatre presents the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein by staging the legendary composing team’s 1943 debut collaboration “Oklahoma!” beginning Thursday, June 29.

Based on Lynn Riggs’ 1930 play “Green Grow the Lilacs,” the landmark musical concerns land, statehood, romance and rivalry at the dawn of the 20th century in Oklahoma territory. The prickly yet tender relationship between farm girl Laurey Williams and cowboy Curly McClain is put to the test when disturbed ranch hand Jud Fry competes for Laurey’s affection. The marvelous score includes “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” “Kansas City,” “Out of My Dreams,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” and the rousing title song.

“What better show to do when staging Rodgers and Hammerstein for the first time at our theatre,” exclaimed director and Brookville board president James Nelson.

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“‘Oklahoma!’ is a classic love story, but the story is also relevant. There is so much political turmoil going on right now, but this show reminds us if everybody could just try to get along there might not be so many problems. In the show, the cowboys and farmers constantly fight each other, but during the journey of Laurey and Curly’s love story, the entire community is ultimately brought together.”

“This show continues to resonate because so many of its themes are timeless,” echoed Thomas Pedrotti, who portrays Jud and notably appeared as Gaston in Brookville’s excellent production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” helmed by Nelson last season. “Young love is portrayed as exciting, unsure, passionate, and even frightening. A lot of people can relate to these emotions. Although Jud is certainly an unsavory character in particular, many people can relate to the desperation he feels when he finds his love for Laurey to be unrequited. I think the happy-go-lucky excitement tinted with darker undertones and serious themes plays a large part in why the show has connected with all audiences over the years.”

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In addition, the groundbreaking show notably incorporated dance into its plot unlike any other musical of its era thanks to visionary choreographer Agnes de Mille. Brookville's choreographer Megan Valle, a versatile Wright State University theater major, says her work will reflect de Mille's legacy to some degree, but has been created overall to suit this particular production.

“De Mille is a creature of her own and her style is so unique,” said Valle, memorably seen last season in WSU’s productions of “No, No, Nanette” and “The Children’s Hour.” “I give homage to (her) a little bit in the Dream Sequence with the balletic movement and also with some stylistic poses in ‘Many a New Day.””

“Megan has been absolutely fantastic,” Nelson added. “She has offered so many fresh ideas and we’re so pleased.”

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The principal cast includes De’Aaron Isaac as Curly, Monica Impson as Laurey, Lucinda Becknell Cuny as Aunt Eller, Mark van Luvender as Ali Hakim, Kendal Garrett as Will Parker, Elizabeth Loyacano Pedrotti as Ado Annie, Brian Laughlin as Andrew Carnes, Misty Grow as Gertie Cummings, John Wysong as Ike Skidmore, and William Impson as Cord Elam. The artistic team includes vocal director Amanda Newhart, costumers Leslie Monnig and Krista Strider, set builder Matt Robbins, stage manager Debbi Robbins, and set painter Pam Haislip.

“I think ‘Oklahoma!’ is everything people think of when they think of musical theater,” Valle added. “It has a classic story, a gorgeous score and dancing. I think people love the characters and there are so many different character types (allowing them) an easy time finding at least one they can connect to. I also think the older generations have really instilled on the younger generations just how influential this musical was. They have taught us how to really fall in love with it.”


Want to go?

WHAT: "Oklahoma!"

WHERE: Brookville Community Theatre, 770 Arlington Road, Brookville

WHEN: June 29-July 16; Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 3 p.m.

COST: $15

TICKETS/MORE INFO: Call Brookville Flower Shop at (937) 833-3531 or visit www.brookvillecommunitytheatre.com

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