South Delta Secondary is bringing one of the world’s most beloved musicals to life next month.
SDSS and Equinox Theatre presents Oklahoma March 5 to 9.
Oklahomais the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs.
Set in farm country in 1906, Oklahoma tells the story of farm girl Laurey Williams and her courtship by two rival suitors, cowboy Curly McLain and the sinister and frightening farmhand Jud Fry. A secondary romance concerns cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie.
“It’s one of my favourite shows. I tend to balance things with a newer musical with an older one so the students get a well-rounded education,” said director Jennifer McKee. “Oklahoma is one of the earliest musicals that was done in the traditional American-musical format. It’s also called the actors’ musical and I wanted the students to have interesting characters to play. It’s an interesting political piece and the students can get so much out of it.”
McKee said there are 56 in the main cast and ensemble as well as a 14-member orchestra and close to 50 in the crew.
“There are more than 120 students involved. We are getting to be this really big show and I have to come up with ways to get everyone involved. If you are signed up for the course, you are in the show,” she said. “I’m all about them [the students] being inclusive and develop the knowhow to be passionate about something. I want them to challenge themselves and they all do that with this show. I’m so proud of all of them. It’s a remarkable group of students.”
Grade 12 student Simon Hawke plays Fry. He said he is thrilled to be playing the role.
“I never knew it would be so awesome,” Hawke said. “I was in the ensemble in Grade 10 and I think I had like two lines, but I took pride in those lines and tried to do them as best as possible. Over the course of that year I gained confidence in my singing and acting and last year I played a supporting role in High School Musical. It has just been this gradual increase in my confidence and what I’m capable of.”
He says being in something like Oklahoma, especially in your final year of high school, has been a memorable experience.
“You want to hit a home run and that’s what we are all hoping for,” he said. “In Grade 10 I remember it meant a lot to the leads who were in Grade 12. I’m nervous, but I’m so excited because I know the show is going to be really, really good.”
Grade 11 student Rosalind East plays Williams. Oklahoma marks her debut at SDSS as a featured performer.
“It’s definitely scary, but I’m just more excited,” East said. “I’m so thankful for this opportunity. She is such an amazing character to bring to life.”
As opening night approaches, East said the cast is really getting into crunch time.
“I’m so proud of the cast. I feel like it is all really coming together. We have worked so hard and it’s going to pay off,” she said.
Oklahomaruns March 5 to 9 with curtain at 7 p.m. There is a preview matinee performance on March 2 at 1 p.m.
Tickets for March 2 show are $5 while for the evening shows are $20 for adults, $10 for students/seniors and $5 for children five and under.
For tickets call 604-943-7532 or email: email@example.com.