Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Oklahoma!’ returns to Interlochen
Broadway veteran and Director of Musical Theatre Justin Lee Miller directs Interlochen Arts Academy’s high-octane production of the Tony Award-winning musical.
The Interlochen Arts Academy Theatre Division will bring an iconic love story to life this spring with their new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Tony Award-winning musical Oklahoma! at Corson Auditorium. Performances will take place Friday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 7 at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at interlochen.org/tickets.
The first musical written by the theatre-writing team of composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist-dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II, Oklahoma! tells the story of farm girl Laurey Williams and two rival suitors, cowboy Curly McLain and farmhand Jud Fry. A box office hit, the original Broadway production was set in 1906 and opened on March 31, 1943. It inspired award-winning revivals, national tours, foreign productions, and an Oscar-winning 1955 film adaptation. Rodgers and Hammerstein won a special Pulitzer Prize for Oklahoma! in 1944.
Broadway veteran and Director of Musical Theatre Justin Lee Miller selected and directed Interlochen’s production. “The concept for Oklahoma! really came out of conversations I had with the late Harold Prince during rehearsals for The Phantom of the Opera,” Miller said. “He would often talk about his military service and how most of the people in his generation in the New York theater scene had served in WWII. This is a totally foreign concept for students today.”
Interlochen’s production takes place in a rehearsal in the 1940s. “My goal is to have the piece reflect the spirit of the era in which it was written. It’s not a documentary about the Old West; it instead presents an idealized fairy tale of the Old West. Oklahoma! is a musical about young love, new beginnings, and the American can-do spirit. It reflects the idea that the American experiment is essentially a good thing and that American values are worth fighting for.”
The Interlochen Arts Academy Theatre Division provides accelerated pre-professional training in acting, musical theatre, and theatre design & production for aspiring performers and technicians in grades 9-12. Since its establishment in 1962, the program has produced dozens of successful actors, designers, and theatre professionals, including Oscar-winning actor Linda Hunt, Tony-nominated actor and director Michael Arden, Emmy Award-winning actor Tom Hulce, and Tony-nominated set designer Dane Laffrey, among many others.