(Photo: Oregon Shakespeare Festival)
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma will be presented with a new perspective by Broadway veteran director Bill Rauch. Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in Ashland, Oregon, will celebrate the musical’s 75th anniversary by offering a unique interpretation featuring same-sex couples in the paired leads.
"Oklahoma revolutionized the American theater in 1943 and I couldn't be more proud to offer our own revolutionary spin on this beloved classic during its 75th anniversary," Rauch exclusively told Broadway.com. "Gender identity and sexual orientation are such important grounds for advancing civil rights today, and I am excited to have OSF's production shed new light on both Rodgers and Hammerstein's iconic work and on where we stand as a society in this important moment."
Rauch didn’t elaborate on which couples would featured as same-sex (or on casting), but the production, set to run April through October 2018 at OSF’s Angus Bowmer Theatre, with exact dates to be announced, should certainly be one of a kind.
Oklahoma was the first musical written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Set outside the town of Claremore, Oklahoma, in 1906, it focuses on the cowboy Curly McLain and his romance with a farm girl named Laurey Williams. A secondary romance concerns cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie.
Building on the groundbreaking nature of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II 's musical Show Boat, Oklahoma! epitomized the development of the book musical, with songs and dances fully integrated into a story with dramatic goals.