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Bishop's Stortford Musical Theatre Company brings Broadway classic Oklahoma! to Rhodes

Alex Outlaw, left, as Laurey and Rebecca Faulkner as Ado Annie
Alex Outlaw, left, as Laurey and Rebecca Faulkner as Ado Annie

Bishop's Stortford Musical Theatre Company returns to Rhodes Arts Complex next week (November 12-17) with the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!

Matthew Juggins as Curly and Alex Outlaw as Laurey
Matthew Juggins as Curly and Alex Outlaw as Laurey

The six-night run – with a matinee on the final Saturday – follows the company’s sell-out production of Sister Act last year.

Oklahoma!, which was written by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, turned 75 this year having first opened on Broadway in New York on March 31, 1943. It ran for 2,212 performances.

Set in the early 20th century, before Oklahoma was formally a state, several farmers, cowboys and a travelling salesman compete for the romantic favours of two women.

The story focuses on Laurey Williams (played by Alex Outlaw) and her ‘Will they, won’t they?’ relationship with Curly McLain (Matthew Juggins).

Meet the cast

Laurey Williams – Alex Outlaw

Curly McLain – Matthew Juggins

Judd Fry – Darrell Williams

Ado Annie Carnes – Rebecca Faulkner

Ali Hakim – Mike Sykes

Will Parker – Jack Stevens

Aunt Eller – Charlotte Pritchard

Laurey is a stubborn girl who has grown tired of waiting for Curly to confess his feelings, so she accepts the invitation of dark and dangerously obsessed farmhand Judd Fry (Darrell Williams) to the town’s next box social dance – a decision that will have lasting repercussions for all involved.

Meanwhile, Laurey’s best friend, Ado Annie (Rebecca Faulkner), becomes torn between two men: Ali Hakim (Mike Sykes), the travelling and questionably motived pedlar-man, and the handsome and loyal Will Parker (Jack Stevens).

Aunt Eller (Charlotte Pritchard), Laurey’s beloved aunt, is there all the while, trying to keep everyone in check, especially the raucous cowboys. But there are some things that even she can’t protect the young ones from.

The musical features the songs Oh What A Beautiful Mornin’, The Surrey With the Fringe on Top, People Will Say We’re in Love and, of course, Oklahoma!

Darrell Williams as Judd Fry
Darrell Williams as Judd Fry

BSMTC is working with a new director, David James. Having played Ali Hakim in a production of Oklahoma! at Chelmsford’s Civic Theatre earlier this year, he is fully acquainted with the show from both sides of the director’s desk.

Musical director is Sarah Sykes, an experienced MD as well as music teacher, singer and musical theatre performer herself.

* Oklahoma! runs from Monday to Saturday (Nov 12-17). Performances start at 7.30pm daily, with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets are available from www.rhodesartscomplex.ticketsolve.com/shows or 01279 710200. Discounted tickets are available for the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday performances.


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