Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! Opens Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival 22nd season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               June 6, 2013

Contact: Lisa Higgins,   610.282.9455, ext. 4

Center Valley, PA – Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first collaboration, Oklahoma!, which earned the legendary duo a special Pulitzer prize, opens the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s 22nd season. The musical previews June 12th and 13th, opens June 14th, running through June 30th on the main stage.

A celebration of the pioneer spirit that built America, Oklahoma! contains iconic songs — “People Will Say We’re in Love,” “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” and “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” — capturing the joys and hopes on the horizons beyond the daily struggles of the settlers’ life.

Dennis Razze, PSF associate artistic director who directed last season’s acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd, directs.

Oklahoma! changed the landscape of musical theatre when it premiered in 1943, creating the modern American “book musical” by uniting well-drawn characters, linear plot structure, and integrated songs and dances.

Life on the plains takes center stage – colored by romance and jealousy, adventure and adversity. Curly, an exuberant cowboy played by Doug Carpenter, and Laurey, a farm girl played by Christine Negherbon, deny their obvious attraction – creating an opportunity for the farmhand Jud, played by Brent Bateman, to come between them. Laurey’s friend, Ado Annie, played by Julia Pfender, finds herself torn between her local beau Will, Sean McGee, and the smooth-talking traveling salesman Ali Hakim, Fran Prisco.

Longtime collaborator Stephen Casey has created the dances in Oklahoma! Negherbon and Carpenter will dance the principal ballet – there will not be a “dream” Laurey and Curly. Rick Sordelet, who has designed fight scenes for 56 Broadway productions, has directed the fight scenes between the cowboys and farmers, and Jud and Curly. The music in the production is directed and conducted by Nathan Diehl. The production will feature a full live orchestra.
Oklahoma! also features Anne Lewis as Aunt Eller, and Matthew Davis Wiggin as Joe. Chris Kotera and Cody Davis play Fred and Slim, respectively.

David P. Gordon has designed the setting of Indian Territory in Oklahoma. Tony nominee (Hair, 2009) Michael McDonald has designed the costumes, and the lighting is designed by Eric T. Haugen. PSF’s resident designer Matthew Given designed sound and Robin Grady serves as stage manager, with Alison Hassman assisting her.


Music by Richard Rodgers
Book & lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs
Original Dances by Agnes de Mille

Previews: June 12 and June 13

Opens: Friday, June 14

Closes: Sunday, June 30

Performances: Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm – except for Saturday, June 15. Sunday, June 16 at 7:30pm.

Tickets: $25-55. Discounts for students, seniors, subscribers and groups.

Meet the actors: Q&A after all Thursday performances, except previews.

Box Office: 610.282.WILL [9455] Order online at:
The 2013 season also includes The 39 Steps (June 19 – July 14), Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure (July 18 – August 4) and Henry VIII (July 24 – August 4) and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest(July 10 – August 4). The Festival also features the children’s shows Beauty and the Beast (through August 3) and Shakespeare for Kids (July 24 – August 3).

The production sponsor for Oklahoma! is Alvin H. Butz, Inc. Co-Sponsors are Orlando Diefenderfer Electrical Contractors and Wills Hall Oblate Community. The Season Sponsors are Dr. & Mrs. Frank J. Szarko. The Associate Season sponsors are Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth. Season Media sponsors are Adams Outdoor, The Morning Call, and Service Electric Cable TV & Communications.

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival is the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth and a professional, not-for-profit, theatre company. An independent 501 c 3 organization, PSF receives support from DeSales University and relies on contributions from individuals, government agencies, corporations and foundations. PSF is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and a member of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Lehigh Valley Arts Council and the Shakespeare Theatre Association.

DOUG CARPENTER, Curly. Regional: Skip in Life Could Be a Dream (LA Weekly and LADCC Winner), Curtis in Summer of Love (MTW and Ogunquit Playhouse), Lancelot In Camelot (Pasadena Playhouse), Curly in OK! (Fullerton Civic Light Opera), Tony in West Side Story (FCLO). New York Theatre: Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice (NYMF). He is the 2013 Lotte Lenya Competition winner and the only performer to also be named the winner of the American Traditions Competition (2011) in Savannah, Georgia.

STEPHEN CASEY, Choreographer. PSF: South Pacific, Forum and 1776. Select credits: Rent and What a Glorious Feeling (Bristol Riverside Theatre), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Montgomery Theatre), Anything Goes and All Shook Up! (West Virginia Public Theatre), Spring Awakening and Legally Blonde (Theatre Arts Center), Crazy for You and Joseph…Dreamcoat (Sooner Theatre). DeSales Act 1: Millie, Camelot, Guys and Dolls, Anything Goes, I Love a Piano, Joseph…Dreamcoat.

MATTHEW GIVEN, Resident Sound Designer and Production Manager. He has designed over 40 productions for PSF including: The Winter’s TaleCat on a Hot Tin Roof, King LearDraculaHamlet (2011), Romeo & Juliet (2010), Sleeping Beauty and The Mystery of Irma Vep. Regional: The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Theatre Exile, the Centenary Stage Company, and Arcadia University.

DAVID P. GORDON, Set Designer. He has designed almost 300 productions. Recent designs for: Public Theater/NYSF, Hartford Stage, Old Globe, Long Wharf, Goodspeed, Williamstown, Chicago Shakespeare, Arden, Wilma, Walnut St., Philadelphia Theatre Co., Kennedy Center, L.A. Opera, Berkshire and Sarasota Operas, and others. David has received five Barrymore Awards and the 2003 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Scenic Design, and has been nominated for IRNE, Carbonel and CT Critics Circle awards. He is a professor of set design at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts.

ROBIN GRADY, Production Stage Manager. PSF: Sweeney ToddSouth Pacific; Huntington Theatre Company: Betrayal; Trinity Repertory Company: Love Alone, The CrucibleA Christmas CarolDead Man’s Cell PhoneShooting StarShapeshifter; Lyric Stage Company of Boston: Meet Vera Stark, The Mikado, Big RiverFolliesSpelling Bee; Ocean State Theatre Company: Fools, RENT; Actors Theatre of Louisville (33rd Humana Festival), Slasher; Colorado Shakespeare Festival: Much Ado About NothingTo Kill A Mockingbird; Gamm Theatre: Much Ado About Nothing.

ALISON HASSMAN, Assistant Stage Manager. Credits include: Trinity Repertory Company, McCarter Theater, West Virginia Public Theater, Plays and Players, The Active Theater.

ERIC T. HAUGEN, Lighting Designer. PSF: Sweeney Todd, South Pacific1776Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan HarkerKing LearAmadeusMy Fair Lady, and Henry IV, Part 1, among others. His theatrical lighting has been seen Off-Broadway and in regional theatres around the country. Eric’s company, Luminous Design Studios, provides lighting designs for television, themed entertainment, and architectural projects worldwide.

MICHAEL MCDONALD, Costume Designer. Broadway & West End: Hair (2009 Tony Award, Drama Desk and Hewes Award nominations). The Public: Hair (Delacorte Theater). Off-Broadway & Regional: The Irish Curse (Soho Rep), A Perfect Future (Cherry Lane Theater), Tartuffe (Tribeca Playhouse), Amahl and the Night Visitors (Lincoln Center), God of Carnage, [Title of Show](George Street Playhouse); Take me Out (Seattle Rep & Repertory Theatre of St. Louis);Johnny Baseball (American Repertory Theater, IRNE Nomination), Dirty Blond, Omnium Gatherum, Crowns, Spring Awakening, Next to Normal(Zach Scott Theatre); Amadeus, Sweeney Todd, The Laramie Project, Angels in America(Chatham Playhouse).

CHRISTINE NEGHERBON, Laurey. Some credits: National Tours of My Fair Lady, produced by Cameron MacKintosh (Eliza u/s), Best Little Whorehouse in TexasChicago, Crazy for you (Polly), 42nd Street (Peggy – European Tour) and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Regional: Jennyanydots in Cats (Sacramento Music Circus, The MUNY – Kevin Kline Nomination for Outstanding Ensemble),Thoroughly Modern Millie (Millie), Sound of Music (Maria), No, No Nanette (Nanette) and Singin’ in the Rain (Kathy Selden)TV credits: Haunting Evidence (Court TV), Law and Order – Criminal Intent. Founded The Thriving Artists in 2007.

DENNIS RAZZE, Director, and Associate Artistic Director of PSF. The chairman of the theatre department of DeSales University and a founding member of PSF. Act 1: Chicago. PSF: Sweeney ToddSouth PacificA Funny Thing…Forum,1776Cyrano de BergeracMy Fair LadyAmadeusMan of La ManchaThe Taming of the ShrewTwelfth NightA Midsummer Night’s Dream, and As You Like It. Razze also composed musical scores for PSF’s CyranoThe TempestThe Merry Wives of Windsor, and others.

RICK SORDELET, Fight Choreographer. NY: 56 Broadway shows including The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Scottsboro Boys, also the National Tours of Beauty and the Beast, and Les Miz. International: 53 productions worldwide: Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Ben Hur Live. Regional: Sucker Punch at the Signature Theater in Washington DC, King Lear at the Goodman. Film: The Game Plan (starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), Dan in Real Life (starring Steve Carell, and Juliet Binoche). Television: Stunt Coordinator for Guiding Light for 12 years; One Life to Live. Instructor: Yale School of Drama. Awards: Edith Oliver Award for Sustained Excellence from the Lucille Lortel Off-Broadway League and others.