MODESTO — Sierra Repertory Theatre takes a trip back to "Oklahoma!" with its next production, a staging of the enduring Rodgers & Hammerstein celebration of American spirit.
Set in the Western Territory just before Oklahoma became a state, the show was an instant smash when it debuted 70 years ago.
"This show captures a spirit and time that is so appealing," director Dennis Jones said in a press release. "It was a new beginning for the country, a joy about life the future looked very bright. That's what they were celebrating when they wrote this, and that's why it's still so popular."
Packed with memorable characters and songs, the show features classic tunes including "Oh What A Beautiful Mornin' " "Kansas City," "People Will Say We're in Love," "All or Nothing" and "Surrey With the Fringe On Top."
The story centers around a pair of love stories: Curly, the self-assured cowboy, is trying to win over Laurey, a feisty farm girl. She has also captured the attention of her hired hand, Jud Fry, a moody outcast with a chip on his shoulder. Laurey impulsively accepts Jud's invitation to the big picnic and finds herself uneasy with her date.
On the other side of the fence is love-struck Will Parker, who is determined to win over his sweetheart, Ado Annie. Traveling salesman Ali Hakim is his romantic competition.
SRT veteran Samantha Bruce returns to play Laurey, newcomer Joshua Dixon is Curly and Los Angeles performer Tom Mesmer who's acted for Sierra Rep before in "Sweeney Todd" and "Dracula" plays Jud Fry. Jacob January and Halley Electra Mayo play Will Parker and Ado Annie, and Drew Boudreau rounds out the cast as Ali Hakim.
Musical Director Sean Paxton has created new orchestration for the music to give a fresh take on the songs and dances. Choreographer Emily Gatesman, who played Laurey in SRT's 2002 production of "Oklahoma!," is creating the show's many dance numbers.
WHAT: Sierra Rep's "Oklahoma!"
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m Sunday, June 28-Aug. 18
WHERE: Fallon House Theatre, 11175 Washington St., Columbia State Historic Park
CALL: (209) 532-3120