Musical Theater



Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II

March 26-28, April 1-3, 2004, Watson Theater


Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs, the 1943 musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II tells the story of fun, love and romance in the lives of families living in the Oklahoma territory at the turn of the 20th century. The play follows two cowboys who are trying to win the hearts of the women they care about, but must first deal with the interference of an evil ranch hand and a roaming peddler. Oklahoma! was released as a Hollywood movie in 1955 starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones and it won two Academy Awards. The New York Drama League named Oklahoma! the Best Musical of the Century.

"Musicals are important cultural artifacts that provide valuable insights into how Americans have viewed their own history and how they have sought to represent themselves culturally," said Graham Wood, assistant professor of music and the producer/musical director of the Coker production. "Oklahoma! was the first truly integrated show -- it was the first musical where all constituent elements of music, dance, text, costume, scenic design worked together to produce a unified and cohesive narrative whole."

Starring in Coker College's Oklahoma! is theater major Wesley Atkinson as Will Parker, vocal performance and dance major Jessica Brill as Ado Annie Carnes, musical theater major Eric Decker (recently featured in People magazine) as Curly, English major Nick Hilbourn as Ali Hakim, sociology and communications major Angela Johnson as Aunt Eller, graphic design major Justin Johnson as Jud Fry, and musical theater major Angela Price as Laurey. Oklahoma! also stars Benjamin Johnson, Tiffany Jones, Brandy Morrell, Glynnis Robbins, and Caleb Roberts. The play will have a six minute ballet performed by Jones and Roberts.

The Coker College production of Oklahoma! is directed Larry Nye, an adjunct professor in Coker's Department of Dance, Music and Theater who played Will Parker in high school 25 years ago this year. Nye is also the costume designer. Assistant Professor of Dance Angela Gallo is choreographer and Adam Weiner, associate professor of theater, is lighting designer. The set designer is technical theater major Julia Cox and English and theater major Bryant Herring is stage manager.