Thursday, May 29, 2008

Theater Of The Stars Presents The Great American Musical: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA!

Theater Of The Stars Presents The Great American Musical: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA!
From June 24-29 At The Fabulous Fox Theatre

“We are delighted to present one of the classic musicals of all time, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!,” states Christopher B. Manos, Producer of Theater of the Stars. “It is truly a celebration of the American spirit, the can-do attitude and the unwavering optimism of the proud people who founded this great country. We are especially honored to be working with an outstanding creative team including award-winning Director Norb Joerder and renowned Choreographer Gemze de Lappe, who is recreating Agnes de Mille’s iconic dances which are such a thrilling part of this show. And our cast is superb! Join us for an unforgettable theatrical experience when we present Oklahoma! at the Fabulous Fox Theatre from June 24-29. Tickets are on sale now at and at 404-817-8700. For special group rates contact the Fox Group Sales Dept. at 404-881-2000.”

Oklahoma! was the first collaboration between Broadway legends Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Set in the early part of the 20th century when Oklahoma was still Indian Territory, the fierce rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the colorful background against which Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a winsome farm girl, fall in love. The road to true love never runs smooth, and with these two headstrong romantics holding the reins, the journey is a delightfully bumpy ride! The glorious score includes “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’,” “The Surrey With The Fringe On Top,” “People Will Say We’re In Love,” and the title song “Oklahoma!”

Oklahoma! is based on the play "Green Grow The Lilacs" by Lynn Riggs with Music by Richard Rodgers and Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hamerstein II and features Original Dances by Agnes de Mille.

Director Norb Joerder’s work can be seen from Broadway to regional theaters across America, as well as European and International productions. He reunited Robert Goulet and Camelot for a critically acclaimed revival on Broadway and a record breaking National Tour. He also staged the Richard Harris International Camelot that toured Australia and Europe. In New York, he has directed and choreographed revivals of 42nd Street with Jerry Orbach and Tammy Grimes, La Cage Aux Folles with Gene Barry and Lee Roy Reams, Gypsy with Lanie Kazan, Guys and Dolls with Vic Damone, The Music Man with John Schneider, Annie Get Your Gun with Andrea McArdle and My Fair Lady with Michael Moriarty. Regionally he has worked for Theater of the Stars in Atlanta, Theater Under The Stars in Houston, the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Dallas Summer Musicals in Dallas and Music Fair Productions in New York and Pennsylvania. He has also staged over 25 musicals for The Jupiter Theatre and Richard Akins Productions of Jupiter, Florida. For his work there, Norb was nominated over twelve times and received the Carbonell Award for excellence in theater in southern Florida.

Gemze de Lappe is an American dancer, teacher and choreographer who worked closely with famed choreographer Agnes de Mille and was frequently partnered with de Mille's favorite male dancer, James Mitchell. Originally trained by Irma Duncan, Isadora Duncan’s adopted daughter, and Michel Fokine, de Lappe began her career in Fokine's company. At an early age she became one of the leading members of the Agnes de Mille Dance Theatre Company. She was featured in the first national company of Oklahoma! (1943) and in1947 she traveled to London to dance in Oklahoma! and began to do work in staging and choreography. On Broadway she was the premiere dancer in productions of Oklahoma!, Carousel, Brigadoon, and Paint Your Wagon . De Lappe also appeared in The King and I for Jerome Robbins, both in the original Broadway production and in the film, as “King Simon of Legree.” Her long concert dance career includes a memorable experience with the American Ballet Theatre (1953-1954). In the late 50’s was invited by the State Department to tour Greece and Asia on a concert tour with Rod Alexander’s Dance Company. She stopped touring in the mid 60’s to get married and raise two sons. During this time she did more staging and choreography in New York. She has done her own choreography for revivals of Finian’s Rainbow, South Pacific and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She recreated de Mille’s choreography for the 1979 Broadway revival of Oklahoma! and served as Professor of Dance at Smith College from 1979 through 1992. In the late 80’s Cameron Mackintosh asked her to stage Oklahoma! at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End and liked her work so much that after the London run he took the musical to Australia. She choreographed Abe Lincoln In Illinois at Lincoln Center in 1993. In 2007 she was presented with an honorary Tony Award for a lifetime of excellence in the theatre. De Lappe remains active as a choreographer and teacher, a vibrant and joyful presence in the landscape of theatre and dance.

Theater of the Stars’ production of Oklahoma! features a marvelous cast. Jennifer Evans stars as Laurey. Her national tour credits include Jersey Boys, Annie – 30th Anniversary Tour and The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas starring Ann-Margret. Nicholas Rodriguez portrays Curly. He made his Broadway debut in Tarzan and starred opposite Val Kilmer in the recent Los Angeles production of The Ten Commandments. Ruth Williamson will star as Aunt Eller. This past January she was seen as Miss Hannigan in Annie in Theater of the Stars’ production at the Fox Theatre. Her Broadway credits include La Cage Aux Folles, The Music Man, Little Me, Guys & Dolls, Smile and Annie. On film she’s appeared in Evan Almighty, The Producers, Legally Blonde II and Malcolm X and on television she has a recurring role as Mrs. Grubman on Nip/Tuck. Betsy Dilellio is Ado Annie. This past January she was featured in Theater of the Stars’ production of Annie as Lily St. Regis. Her national tour credits include The Light In The Piazza. In November, 2007 she appeared in the Oscar Hammerstein Award Concert Honoring Joseph Stein. Atlanta native Glenn Rainey will play Andrew Carnes. He recently closed the Broadway company of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as Cogsworth, having played the role in the first national tour. Glenn is well-known as the junk-food eating psychopath Otto in Horizon Theatre’s production of Nicky Silver’s The Food Chain. He appeared in the films Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil, The Shaggy Dog and Enchanted. Christopher Vettel will appear as Cord Elam. Atlanta audiences have seen him at the Fox Theatre in Annie – 30th Anniversary Tour as Bert Healy and as Cliff in the national tour of Sunset Boulevard. He has been a soloist with the Opera Company of Boston, Opera Cleveland and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (in the final concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein). Danae Carter stars as Dream Laurey. Danae attended Contra Costa Ballet Centre and the San Francisco Ballet School. She most recently played the role of Emily in Agnes de Mille’s A Rose For Emily which was staged by Gemze de Lappe. Ben Crawford portrays Jud and Dream Jud. His Broadway credits include the role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. Phillip Skaggs is Dream Curly. He danced with the Hartford Ballet in 1997 and joined the Richmond Ballet in 1999. His favorite roles include Balanchine’s Apollo, Agnes de Mille’s A Rose For Miss Emily and John Butler’s Carmina Burana.

The creative team for Oklahoma! includes Robert Strickland as Musical Director and Conductor, Michael Schweikardt as Set Designer, Kirk Bookman as Lighting Designer, Peter Fitzgerald and Erich Bechtel as Sound Designers, Jeffrey Meek as Costume Designer and Bill Newberry as Children’s Musical Director.

Theater of the Stars will present Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! at the Fabulous Fox Theatre from June 24-29, 2008. Performances are scheduled for Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale NOW through Ticketmaster. Purchases through Ticketmaster can be made in three ways: at Ticketmaster ticket centers, by calling 404-817-8700, or by ordering online at For group ticket sales, call the Fox Theatre Group Sales Office at
404-881-2000. Ticket prices range from $25- $68.

Theater of the Stars celebrates our 56th Anniversary as one of the nation’s premier theater companies. A civic not-for-profit cultural treasure, Theater of the Stars is dedicated to presenting and producing the best in musical theater. To learn more about our history of excellence, visit

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