Rodgers and Hammerstein classic rides into the North East


Saddle up for a dose of sunshine as a new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical gets set to arrive at a top North East theatre.

From Music & Lyrics, the award-winning producers of the highly successful tours of The King & I and Fiddler on the Roof, this new production of one of the great classic American musicals will feature a large cast and chorus led by Belinda Lang (School for Scandal, Ladies in Lavender) and Gary Wilmot (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).

Set in the Oklahoma territory in the early 1900s, the musical celebrates the vigour of America’s pioneering spirit while at the same time telling the story of two pairs of star-crossed lovers.

Cowboy Curly loves Laurey, Aunt Eller’s niece, but Curly’s rival is the mysterious and dangerous hired hand Jud Fry. Meanwhile, Ado Annie is torn between cowboy Will and peddler Ali Hakim.

Their stories are told with the help of some of the best loved songs in musical theatre history, including Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’, I’m Just a Girl Who Cain’t Say No, Surrey With a Fringe on Top, Kansas City, People Will Say We’re in Love and the title song.

Oklahoma!, with music by Richard Rodgers and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, was based on the Lynn Riggs play Green Grow the Lilacs and was the first musical written by the duo. It was originally produced on Broadway in 1943 and the Academy Award-winning film was released in 1955.

Belinda Lang stars as Aunt Eller with Gary Wilmot as Ali Hakim, Ashley Day (The Book of Mormon, The Wizard of Oz, High School Musical) as Curly, Charlotte Wakefield (The Sound of Music, MAMMA MIA!, Spring Awakening) as Laurey and Nic Greenshields (Guys and Dolls, Billy Elliot, The Phantom of the Opera) as Jud Fry.

The show is accompanied by a live orchestra led by musical director Steve Ridley. Set and costumes are designed by Francis O’Connor, with lighting by Tim Mitchell and sound by Ben Harrison.

This new production is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh with new choreography by Drew McOnie. Rachel Kavanaugh is former Artistic Director of the Birmingham Rep. She is directing An Ideal Husband at the Chichester Festival Theatre this autumn.

Other credits include The Sound of Music at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Love Story in Chichester and the West End, and The Merry Wives of Windsor for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Drew McOnie’s choreography credits include In the Heights for Southwark Playhouse, The Sound of Music and Chicago for Leicester Curve, Soho Cinders at the Soho Theatre, and Dames at Sea and On the 20th Century at the Union Theatre. He recently launched his own theatre dance company, The McOnie Company.

Get your tickets for Oklahoma here.