From press release
MOUNT CARROLL, Ill.—Timber Lake Playhouse (TLP), northwestern Illinois’ non-profit professional summer theater, presents the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!. Artistic Director James Beaudry teams up with Choreographer Will Taylor to breathe new life into the story of the American frontier. This charming audience favorite runs July 1-11.
Originally produced in 1943 and based on Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs, Oklahoma! was a box office smash hit that saw an unprecedented 2,212 performances before closing. Considered the beginning of the modern American musical, the classic Oklahoma! tells the story of the rivalry between local ranchers and farmers as they struggle for control for the Oklahoma Territory. This provides a colorful background against which Curly (TLP resident Jay Ellis), a handsome cowboy, and Laurey (resident Lauren Omelson), a winsome farm girl, play out their love story.
The love story will be highlighted with choreography by Will Taylor, guest for the first time at TLP from New York. Taylor has appeared on Broadway in A Chorus Line, The Producers, La Cage Aux Folles and 42nd Street. He can be seen in this summer’s Sex and the City: 2. Local children and teens will be working directly with Taylor in this production.
Artistic Director James Beaudry said: “Timber Lake Playhouse offers an opportunity of a lifetime for our local community. Local actors will be able to leave the show with a professional acting credit at TLP and the experience working with someone who is on the highest level of our theater profession.”
Local children and teen ensemble members include: Melissa Fitzpatrick and Leslie Neis of Mount Carroll; Levi Skoog and Lauren Hackburn of Chadwick; Katherine Groezinger of Hanover; Cody Sturtevant of Thompson; Gentry Lessman of Shannon; Kallie and Morgan Zuidema, Cate Payan, and Harrison Schmidt of Sterling; and Lauren Sheffey and Kassidy Stephan of Pearl City. Local adult actors include John Chase (Mount Morris) as Andrew Carnes and TLP returning actor Gene Dymkowski (Clinton) as Cord Elam.
Following Oklahoma!, acclaimed Quad Cities Director Derek Bertelsen will stage the brilliantly funny farce, Love, Sex and the I.R.S., opening July 15. Curtains and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, two of Broadway’s newest smash musicals, are next on TLP’s lineup. A backstage murder mystery comedy that’s stuffed full of big dance numbers, Curtains is a “new, old-fashioned” musical from the writers of Chicago. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences around the country and was a surprise hit on Broadway, which prompted the New York Times to ask, “Can you spell I-R-R-E-S-I-S-T-I-B-L-E?”
Many TLP performances are already selling out. Group discounts are available for groups of 12 or more. To purchase tickets or place group reservations, call the Timber Lake Playhouse Box Office between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. at (815) 244-2035. Adult tickets are $20, all children and student tickets are $11. Visit www.timberlakeplayhouse.org for a list of specific show dates and times.
From the June 30-July 6, 2010 issue