Singing, Dancing and Romance in the Old West!
Join Us for
a Grand-Scale Production of "Oklahoma!"
• Check out our video for a behind-the-scenes look at some of the preparations actors, designers, and director Mike Mazur are doing to make "Oklahoma!" a must-see show!
CSU, Chico's Department of Theatre presents a grand-scale, pull-out-all-the-stops production of the 2012 Spring Musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!"
"Oklahoma!" celebrates CSU, Chico's 125th anniversary and the school's time-honored tradition of hosting lavish, grand-scale musicals every spring.
This epic musical has it all — romantic story-line, show-stopping dance numbers, stunning sets and costumes, professional orchestra, and a cast made up of Chico State's most talented student performers. Big as all outdoors, this golden-age musical will sing its way into your heart with such classic songs as "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin'," "Oklahoma," and "Surrey with the Fringe on Top."
Staged May 2-5 at 7:30 p.m. and May 6 at 2 p.m. in Laxson Auditorium, "'Oklahoma!' will give both our actors and audiences the experience of a true example of an American 'golden age' musical while also giving them the look and feel of a Hollywood movie musical," said director Mike Mazur, CSU, Chico Department of Theatre faculty member.
Advance tickets, at $20 premium, $16 general, $14 senior citizens, and $10 students/children, are available at the University Box Office, corner of Second Street and Normal Avenue. Add $2 for tickets purchased at the door. Tickets also available online at chicostatetickets.com or by phone, 530.898.6333; additional $4 handling fee. For special needs seating call 530.898.6333. Purchase tickets early for best seats.
"Oklahoma!" tells the story of two cowboys as they follow their dreams of making their destiny in the Oklahoma territory of 1906. Each of the main characters competes with a corrupt ranch hand and traveling peddler for the women they love. Curly is a cowboy who has trouble admitting his feelings to Laurey, as she does to him. Judd, the hired hand at Laurey's farm, tries to come between them. Ado Annie is torn between Will, a cowboy who has strong feelings for her, and Ali Hakim, a peddler who does not want to marry her. As the romance between Curly and Laurey unfolds, the audience learns of the rivalry between the farmers and the ranchers, and the daily struggles of the pioneers.
While Curly and Laurey's romance is at the center of the plot, Mazur explains that the heart of the play is about a group of people from different backgrounds coming together to form a new place.
"The farmers, ranchers, and merchants all have to learn to accept each other's ways to form a true functioning society," he said. "The need for understanding is as real today as it was then, perhaps more. 'Oklahoma!' is contemporary and relevant to all ages today."
This musical was the first collaboration of the legendary songwriting team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Together they invented the American Musical Comedy, blending singing, acting and dancing in new ways to tell interesting and uniquely American stories.
"People who have seen and loved the show over the years will remember why this show is so special," said Mazur. "The familiar songs like 'People Will Say We're In Love,' and 'I Cain't Say No' remind us of the golden days of the American popular songbook; plus the optimism of the story is hard to ignore."
"Oklahoma!" was first performed on Broadway on March 31, 1943. It was an immediate box-office smash and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances, later enjoying award-winning revivals, national tours, foreign productions and an Academy Award-winning 1955 film adaptation.
According to Wikipedia "Oklahoma!" epitomized the development of the "book musical," a musical play where the songs and dances are fully integrated into a well-made story with serious dramatic goals that are able to evoke genuine emotions other than laughter. In addition, "Oklahoma!" features musical themes, or motifs, that recur throughout the work to connect the music and story. A fifteen-minute "dream ballet" reflected Laurey's struggle to choose between two men. A special Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for "Oklahoma!" in the category of "Special Awards And Citations – Letters" in 1944.
"Oklahoma!" gave birth to the "Broadway" musical with ballads, belted anthems and lavish sets and costumes. When Chico State's cast sings together, accompanied by a full orchestra conducted by North State Symphony's Kyle Wiley Pickett, the show will come to life in a special way, said Mazur.
In addition to the amazing music, the original choreographer, Agnes Demille, built a foundation with the writers using dance as a way of expressing the characters' innermost feelings. CSU, Chico's choreographer, Sheree Henning, has taken this foundation and added the perfect blend of classical ballet and musical theatre movement to re-create the feel of the original show, with the addition of a great western "two-step."
Henning and Mazur had previously collaborated on the tap dance spectacle, "Crazy For You" three years ago at Chico State, and Mazur could not wait to work with her on this classic show.
The cast is made up of talented Chico State students, with Mikey Purdue and Hannah Covington Bernard as Curly and Laurey, and McKenna Perry and Chico's own Cameron Pate in the comic roles of Ado Annie and Will Parker. Other cast members include Hannah Moore, Nick Rama Cryer, Tyler Campbell, Erny Rosales, Benjamin Day, Blair Palmerlee, Simone Kertesz, Lauren Sutton Beattie, Lacey Henderson, Alex Geringer, Hannah Vine, Stina Josephine Trignani, Kate Doll, Ruth Solorzano, Allegra Williams, Chelsea Haskell, Joe Zimmerman, Nate Whitaker, Michael Brambila, David Kahn, and Nic Rockwell.
Mazur previously helped stage "Oklahoma!" four-years-ago at Chico High, and Cameron Pate was in that production.
"It is so great to watch our students develop from freshman year to senior year here in the Theatre program at Chico State, and this show has extra meaning since I was Cam Pate's director in High School, and to see how great he is in this show really is very special to me."
While Mazur thinks people from all ages will find something to love in this production, he wants to especially welcome audience members from the World War II generation because this show has special meaning to those growing up in the 1940s.
"I know our production will invoke for those audience members a true sense of the American spirit," he said.
Mazur's favorite quote from the show is, "plenty of heart and plenty of hope."
"This show definitely has 'em," he said, "and when you see 'Oklahoma!' you will too."
• Click on a framed photo (right-hand strip of photos) to see a larger version of some of CSU, Chico's featured "Oklahoma!" cast members.
• "Oklahoma!" program
• Chico Enterprise-Record preview story
• Orion story on director Mike Mazur
• Constant Contact "e-blast"
• "Oklahoma!" Poster