Highland News Leader

Hard Road Theatre to present ‘Oklahoma!’

Ado Annie (Hannah Wudtke) looks on in surprise as Ali Hackim (Tim Albaugh) attempts to sell Laurey (Olivia Bosaw) and Aunt Eller (Lynne Huelsmann) some wares in a scene from Oklahoma!
Ado Annie (Hannah Wudtke) looks on in surprise as Ali Hackim (Tim Albaugh) attempts to sell Laurey (Olivia Bosaw) and Aunt Eller (Lynne Huelsmann) some wares in a scene from Oklahoma!

Hard Road Theatre Productions and Staunton Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, in association with the Highland Arts Council, will present the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”.

Performances are July 27 and 28 and Aug. 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m., and July 29 and Aug. 5 at 2 p.m.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of “Oklahoma!”. The show first opened on Broadway in March 1943 and ran for more than 2,200 performances. It is one of the most performed musicals of all time. The Broadway show was adapted into a movie in 1955.

This summer’s production is brought to you by an experienced production team headed by director Mike Huelsmann of Breese. He is joined by David Wilton of Carlyle as the music director and Christine Taylor of Highland is the choreographer. The cast is headed by Hard Road veterans Eric Sykes, Lynne Huelsmann, Tim Albaugh, & Westin Holzinger. They are joined by newcomers to the Hard Road stage Olivia Bosaw and Hannah Wudtke. There are 26 total members of the cast.

“Oklahoma!” is based on Lynn Riggs’ 1931 play, “Green Grow the Lilacs.” It is the first collaboration between the two writers, Rodgers and Hammerstein. The duo later created some of the most famous and well-received musicals in the history of the Broadway stage. The story is set in the territory of Oklahoma, near the town of Claremore, in 1906.

The spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the backdrop for the love story between Curly, a handsome though shy ranch hand, and Laurey, a beautiful farm girl. Will Parker, Ado Annie Carnes, and Alli Hakim in a love triangle provide much of the comic relief. Add in Judd Frey, the not so reputable hired hand who has his eyes set on Laurey, as the villain and you have one rip roaring story.

This production will include all of the musical song and dance numbers written for the show, many of which get cut in high school and community theater productions. These include, the tap dance number, “Kansas City,” the ballet-style numbers of “Many a New Day” and “The Dream Sequence,” and Jud’s song, “Lonely Room.”

Hard Road extends an invitation to any and all to come see this show, but would like to especially invite anyone who has ever performed in this show, no matter how long ago it might have been. Members of the Highland High School 1995 production are especially encouraged to attend.

Tickets are $11 for children (ages 4-12) and seniors and $12 for everyone else. Tickets can be purchased online at the Hard Road website (hardroad.org). Physical tickets can be purchased at the Highland Chamber of Commerce Office or at the door.

Hard Road Theatre Productions is a non-profit theater organization committed to providing Highland and the surrounding area with high-quality, affordable, live theater productions. For more information about Oklahoma! or Hard Road Theatre in general, please visit the Hard Road website at hardroad.org.