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"Oh what a beautiful mornin', Oh what a beautiful day... I got a beautiful feelin', evrything's goin' my way..." Those happy notes by cowboy Curley McClain begin Oklahoma!, one of the most beloved Broadway musicals, and Random Lake's 2012 summer show.
Set in the Oklahoma Territory just prior to statehood in 1908, the story centers around the conflict between cowboys and farmers — mixed in with a couple of love stories.
Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. It's a family friendly show featuring song favorites such as "Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin'," "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top," "Many A New Day," "People Will Say We're in Love," and the title song.
Lead roles included Curley McLain (Sam Shircel), farm girl Laurey Williams (Anna E. Woehlke), cowboy Will Parker (Brian Falk) and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie Carnes (Danielle Rammer). Maureen Schommer played community leader Aunt Eller, while Bob Deyo was judge Andrew Carnes. Other major characters included the villainous farm hand Jud Fry (Logan Vander Wyst), peddler Ali Hakim (Bob Eichner) and town flirt Gertie Cummings (Alexia Horstmeier).
The original Broadway production opened on March 31, 1943, and it was a box office smash. Oklahoma! also became an Academy Award-winning film in 1955.
Wisconsin native Beverly Brumm, who retired from the faculty of the State University of New York at New Paltz, directed Oklahoma! "I've directed a lot of plays in my time, but this is the largest cast I have ever worked with," she said. "It has been an extraordinary experience. From the youngest to the oldest, they have all worked hard and are ready to share. And when 86 voices break out into a Rodgers and Hammerstein song, there is just nothing like it."
The staff included musical director Gerald C. Bauer, choreographer Veronica Hilke, scenic and lighting designer Matthew Carr, makeup and hair designer Maureen Schommer, stage manager Heidi Weinaug and assistant stage manager Sheila Jentsch.
Returning as costume designers and leaders of the costume crew for this huge show were Jan Rogne and her daughter, Dori Ross. Both serve on the LPI Board of Directors. Looking out from a stack of cowboy hats, boots, prairie skirts, dresses, and string ties, Dori said, "We have a great group of volunteers working hard in the costume room."