Woodvale resident Liam Gobbert in Oklahoma! production this month

Hayley Currie, Woodvale resident Liam Gobbert and Oliver Kaiser. Picture: Bree Hartley
Hayley Currie, Woodvale resident Liam Gobbert and Oliver Kaiser. Picture: Bree Hartley

A 20-YEAR anniversary production of the famed Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! comes to Roleystone Theatre this May.

Last staged at the theatre in 1997, directors Paul Treasure and Bree Hartley are bringing it to life again with a new cast, celebrating the groundbreaking musical that ushered in the golden age of musical theatre.

Oklahoma! is based on the 1931 play Green Grow the Lilacs and was the first musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, who also had later success with South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music. Set in Native American territory in 1906, the high-spirited rivalry between local farmers and cowboys provides a colourful background as handsome cowboy Curly McLain engages in romance with farm girl Laurey Williams.

Hartley said Oklahoma! was her first theatre production two decades ago.

“The memories of that production 20 years ago are bright and beautiful even now,” she said.

“The wonderful people I met really made it for me, many of whom are no longer with us, and it was the best group I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

“I was blessed to have such a fantastic first show – it lit a fire in me that has never been extinguished.”

Treasure said he loved Broadway.

“The golden age is described as starting with Oklahoma! and ending with Fiddler on the Roof so it’s great to go and see where it all started from,” he said.

“I think there’s a reason some of these shows have lasted as long as they have and continue to be so popular.

“I’ve had the chance to direct a couple of golden age musicals before, including The Sound of Music, and there is something about the way Rodgers and Hammerstein write that still makes their shows vibrant and attractive.

“So when the idea of directing Oklahoma! came about, I jumped at it.”

Oklahoma! plays at 8pm on May 5, 6, 10, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20 and 2pm on May 14, 20.

Tickets on 9490 9306 or at www.roleystonetheatre.com.au.