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Sooner Than Later Oklahoma! To Call ASU Theatre Home

Lynette Kidman as Laurey Williams and Paul Betz as Curly McLain in the ASU Herberger Mainstage Theatre production of Oklahoma!

Photo by Tim Trumble, courtesy of Herberger College of Fine Arts.

March 29, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. - ASU Herberger Mainstage Lyric Opera Theatre (LOT) presents Oklahoma! The energetic musical trails the conflicts between local farmers and cowboys at the start of the 20 th century in western Indian Territory. The tale also follows the love story between Curly, handsome cowboy, and Laurey, endearing farm girl. A total of seven performances will run between April 21 and 30. 

ASU professor Dale Dreyfoos directs and graduate student Emily Parker is the music director and conductor. "The students on this production bring great vitality and youthful exuberance to the show -- which is such an integral part in bringing off the essence of this wonderful American classic," Dreyfoos said. 

Oklahoma! marked the first collaboration between theatre legendaries Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers. The music is by Rodgers; the book and lyrics by Hammerstein are based on the play, "Green Grow The Lilacs," by Lynn Riggs. The production originally debuted during WWII and rejuvenated the American musical. 

Oklahoma! is really an amalgam of two works, Dreyfoos said. "The beloved characters of Ado Annie and Will Parker are only shadowy characters in the original play, but are filled out by Rodgers and Hammerstein to become the prototypes of the musical theater comedy couple." 

The choreography in Oklahoma! was, in its original production of 1943, ground breaking, says JoAnn Yeoman Tongret, choreographer of the show and lecturer in the School of Music. "As audiences, we now take it for granted that dance should have something to do with the plot and with character development. At the time, this was an astounding concept and Agnes de Mille, the original choreographer, was both creative and brave when she brought plot-driven dance to the Broadway stage," she said.

Tickets for Oklahoma! are $5-$20 and available online at or through the Herberger College Box Office, 480-965-6447. Show times are 7:30 p.m., April 21 - 23, 26 and 29; 2 p.m. show times are available April 23 and 30. The performances will be held in the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre, 40 E. Gammage Pkwy., ASU Tempe Campus. 

The ASU Herberger Mainstage Lyric Opera Theatre season is sponsored by The Harris(TM), leaders in wealth management since 1882. For a complete Mainstage schedule of theatre, dance and music performances, please visit: