Byron Civic Theatre’s ‘Oklahoma!’ to open July 27

Ashton Salo (Laurey) and Adam Bechtol (Curley) in Byron Civic Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!”. (Photo provided)

Online Staff Report

BYRON, Ill. — Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs’ 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs.

Set in Oklahoma Territory outside the town of Claremore in 1906, Oklahoma! tells the story of cowboy Curly McLain and his romance with farm girl Laurey Williams. It also outlines the romance between cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie.

The original Broadway production opened March 31, 1943. It was a box-office smash and ran for an unprecedented 2,243 performances, later enjoying award-winning revivals, national tours, foreign productions and an Academy Award-winning 1955 film adaptation. It has long been a popular choice with audiences all around the world.

This musical, building on the innovations of the earlier Show Boat, epitomized the development of the “book musical,” a musical play where the songs and dances are fully integrated into a well-made story with serious dramatic goals that are able to evoke genuine emotions other than laughter.

In addition, Oklahoma! features musical themes, or motifs, that recur throughout the work to connect the music and story.

Oklahoma! introduced the concept of a “dream ballet,” which has since been used in many musicals. In Oklahoma!, the dream reflected Laurey’s struggle to choose between two men and foreshadowed the events to come later in Act 2.

A special Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Rodgers and Hammerstein for Oklahoma! in the category of “Special Awards And Citations — Letters” in 1944.

Oklahoma! opens July 27 with performances continuing July 28-29, and Aug. 3-5. Show times are Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

For tickets, call (815) 312-3000 or visit the BCT website at

Posted July 26, 2012

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