“Oklahoma!,” the iconic musical created by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, changed the face of American musical theatre with its bold combination of music, theatre and dance.
That makes it a fitting choice for the inaugural season of the newly formed School of Music, Theatre and Dance, said Bryan Conger, the show’s director and a third-year MFA directing student in the school.
“I went to Rodgers and Hammerstein because they are really where it all began, where the modern day musical came from,” Conger said. “‘Oklahoma!’ was the first to integrate story, music and dance together to create one cohesive project. The new school is joining together. What better way to celebrate?’”
“Oklahoma!” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29-30, 8 p.m. Oct. 1-2 and 2 p.m. Oct. 2-3 in historic Aycock Auditorium. The 8 p.m. show Oct. 2 doubles as the first event of the 2010-11 University Concert/Lecture Series, which is now sponsored by the school.
Tickets for the shows are $20 adult; $15 for children, seniors and non-UNCG students; $12 for UNCG alumni and groups of 10 or more; and $10 for UNCG students. Tickets may be purchased at boxoffice.uncg.edu, 4-4849 or campus box office locations.
Set in the American West at the turn of the 20th century, “Oklahoma!” uses the spirited rivalry between cowboys and farmers as the backdrop for the romantic relationship between Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a winsome farm girl. Dr. William Carroll, associate dean for the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, will direct the show’s memorable tunes as the production’s musical director.
“The play’s main message is that of community,” Conger said. “In a modern time of division and social controversy, ‘Oklahoma!’ explores our states’ first moments of pride as we expanded our nation and brought opportunity to people of all origins.”
Information about the full UCLS series will be in an upcoming issue. Details about performers and about purchasing tickets for the series can be found at http://www.uncg.edu/mus/ucls/.
Visual: Cast members Leah Turley, Matt Delaney, Diana Yodzis (l-r)
By Lanita Withers Goins.
Photography by Bert VanderVeen