Oklahoma!: Reagle Music Theatre Re-Creates Original Choreography, Costumes
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The last date listed for Oklahoma! was Friday July 15, 2011 / 7:30pm.
Currently at Reagle Music Theatre/Robinson Theatre
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Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, the Reagle Players return with their 18th annual festival A… More
Broadway and ballet dancer Gemze de Lappe, the original Dream Laurey on the first national tour of the 1943 Broadway production of Oklahoma! and choreographer for its 1979 Broadway revival, is once again recreating Agnes de Mille’s original groundbreaking choreography. In collaboration with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the school’s Chancellor John Mauceri, Reagle Music Theatre is also recreating the original 1943 Broadway sets and costumes.
Holly-Anne Ruggiero, assistant director on Broadway with Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays), is directing with IRNE Award winner Daniel Rodriguez serving as music director. Director Holly-Anne Ruggiero is founding artistic director of the imPULSE Theatre Company in New York City and the lead producer of the national tour of Wine Lovers LLC. In addition, Ruggiero has worked with noted directors Scott Faris, Mary Zimmerman, Doug Hughes, and Michael Grief.
“Reagle Music Theatre is known for presenting authentic recreations of classic Broadway musicals,” says Robert Eagle, the company’s producing artistic director. “Our audiences will settle for nothing less than a full singing and dancing ensemble and a large lush orchestra. By teaming with Gemze de Lappe, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and a brilliant young director Holly-Anne Ruggiero, we are combining traditional elements with our own fresh perspective on this glowing piece of musical theater Americana.”
Set in a Western Indian Territory just after the turn of the 20th century, Oklahoma! follows the on-again-off-again romance of headstrong lovers Curly and Laurey, a handsome cowboy and willful farm girl. This high-spirited musical known for its seamless integration of book, score and dance features song favorites “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” “I Cain’t Say No,” “People Will Say We’re in Love” and the rollicking title number.
The Reagle cast stars Stephen Mark Lukas (Off-Broadway’s My Big Gay Italian Wedding and the national tour of Little Women) as Curly; Eliza Xenakis (regional productions of Nine_, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story_) as Laurey; and New York Theater Ballet dancers Joshua Nieto and Rie Ogura as Dream Curly and Dream Laurey. Boston Ballet School instructor Christopher Hird is featured in the ensemble. Also cast are Ellen Peterson as spunky Aunt Eller; Steve Geary as the smitten Wil Parker; Maggie McNeil as flirtatious Ado Annie; Douglas Jabara as the dangerous Jud Fry; Todd Yard as traveling saleman Ali Hakim; and Brad Walters as stern father Andrew Carnes.
Choreographer Gemze de Lappe has enjoyed a long and successful career as a professional dancer, director, and teacher from ballet to Broadway. She studied and performed with the great ballet choreographer Mikhail Fokine in her teens and ultimately became Agnes de Mille’s leading female dancer, interpreting well-loved roles such as Dream Laurey in Oklahoma! In the 1940s de Lappe danced with the American Ballet Theatre, and in the 1950s she worked with choreographer Jerome Robbins in the Broadway and movie versions of The King and I dancing as Simon Le Gree in the famous story-dance number “The Small House of Uncle Thomas.”
In the 1970s, with the resurgence of interest in the style of dance created by Isadora Duncan, de Lappe emerged as one of a handful of authentically trained Duncan dancers.
She became an artist-in-residence in dance at Smith College, teaching Duncan Dance, Ballet, and Musical Theatre Dance. In the latter part of her career she has gone on to stage the de Mille repertoire internationally, including recreating de Mille’s iconic Oklahoma! choreography for the 1979 Broadway revival.
Most recently de Lappe served as choreographer for the faithful recreation of the original 1943 production of Oklahoma! at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She comes to Reagle Music Theatre directly from this acclaimed collaboration with UNCSA Chancellor John Mauceri, former maestro of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.