Ferndale Musical Theatre Boosters Presents Oklahoma!
The Ferndale High School Musical Boosters presents its annual musical, Oklahoma!, this month. The show opens Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 pm at the Ferndale High School Auditorium, 881 Pinecrest, Ferndale MI. All ages are welcome.
Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein duo. The show opened on March 31, 1943 in New York City. It’s based on the play “Green Grow the Lilacs” and is set in the Oklahoma Territory in 1906.
The story focuses on the romance of farm girl Laurey Williams (Senior Kelsey Dupuis) and cowboy Curley McLain (Senior Michael Western), along with the complication of farm hand Jud’s (Sophomore Troy Dill-Reese) feelings for Laurey. A second romance involves the flirtatious Ado Annie (Sophomore Hannah Reiter) and Will Parker (Senior Jairen Lott). Mixed in are the beloved Aunt Eller (Junior Lexie Brisson-Fast) , the peddler Ali Hakim (Senior Elia Hohauser-Thatcher), the flirtatious Gertie Cummings (Junior Lauren Hurt) and assorted farmers, ranchers and their families. A considerable number of rivalries are apparent in the storyline – especially between the local farmers and the cowboys. In the end, however, statehood is imminent and everyone has to find a way to share the land and get along.
Oklahoma! is recognized for epitomizing the then-new style of musical theatre in which the songs and dances are integrated into the plot in order to move the story forward. This is the standard for musical theatre still being followed today. Most musicals up to that time featured thin plots, slapstick, and jokes with Hollywood style dance numbers that related little to the plot. Oklahoma! stayed true to its characters to feature entertainment in a “folk” or ethnic form. The show was an instant success and ran for over 2,200 performances. It won many awards, including a special Pulitzer Prize for Rodgers and Hammerstein.
There have been many revivals of Oklahoma! including several in London whose audiences are charmed by the folksy style of western America. The 1955 movie version starred Gordon McRae as Curly, Shirley Jones as Laurey, and Rod Steiger as Jud Fry. A stage version with an all-British cast starring Hugh Jackman and directed by Trevor Nunn was filmed and released in 1999.
Here in Ferndale, Oklahoma! has been presented twice before, in 1982 and again in 1997. With some 65 students from FHS, FMS, Coolidge and Kennedy Schools in the current “revival”, the 2011 production offers fine singing, harmonies, dancing, and just plain fun. The cast has been working for over three months and are proud to present Oklahoma! one more time.
Performances: March 12, 13, 18, 19, 20
Friday & Saturday performances are at 7:30 pm, Sunday matinees at 3 pm.
Tickets: $6/adult, $4/students & senior citizens, $3/children under 12.
For more information on Ferndale Schools, please go to http://www.ferndaleschools.org.