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BWW Flashback: A Look Back on OKLAHOMA's Broadway History

Broadway Just Can't Say No to OKLAHOMA!

Oklahoma! is back on the Great White Way! The show began previews at Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre on March 19, with an official opening on tonight, April 7. It will play a limited engagement through Sunday, September 1, 2019.

Directed by Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! comes to Broadway direct from a critically acclaimed, sold out run at St. Ann's Warehouse this past fall. The cast stars Will Brill as Ali Hakim, Anthony Cason as Cord Elam, Damon Daunno as Curly McLain, James Davis as Will Parker, Gabrielle Hamilton as Lead Dancer, Rebecca Naomi Jones as Laurey Williams, Will Mann as Mike, Mallory Portnoy as Gertie Cummings, Ali Stroker as Ado Annie, Mitch Tebo as Andrew Carnes, two-time Tony Award-nominee Mary Testa as Aunt Eller and Patrick Vaill as Jud Fry. The cast also includes: Chris Bannow, Demetia Hopkins-Greene, Sasha Hutchings, Denver Milord, Kristie Dale Sanders, Chelsea Lee Williams.

Oklahoma! is no stranger to Broadway. In fact, it's been here five times before. Take a look back at the Broadway history of this iconic musical!

The original Broadway production of Oklahoma! ran from Mar 31, 1943 - May 29, 1948 at the St. James Theatre. Directed by Rouben Mamoulian, the cast featured Alfred Drake as Curly, Joan Roberts as Laurey, Joseph Buloff as Ali Hakim, Howard Da Silva as Jud Fry, Lee Dixon as Will Parker, Betty Garde as Aunt Eller, and Celeste Holm as Ado Annie.

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II won a Pulitzer Prize Special Award for Oklahoma! in 1944.

In addition, Dorthea MacFarland, replacement for Ado Annie, received the Theatre World Award in 1947.

In 1993, this production won a Special Tony Award in honor of its 50th Anniversary.

Listen to the overture from the original production of Oklahoma! below:

The first Broadway revival of Oklahoma! played May 29, 1951 - Jul 28, 1951 at the Broadway Theatre. The cast featured Ridge Bond and Warren Schmoll (alternate) as Curly, Patricia Northrop and Patricia Johnson (alternate) as Laurey, Jerry Mann as Ali Hakim, Henry Clarke as Jud Fry, Walter Donahue as Will Parker, Mary Marlo as Aunt Eller, and Jacqueline Sundt as Ado Annie. This production was also directed by Rouben Mamoulian.

Oklahoma! came to City Center Aug 31, 1953 - Oct 3, 1953. Staged by Rouben Mamoulian, the cast of this production featured Ridge Bond as Curly, Florence Henderson as Laurey, David Le Grant as Ali Hakim, Alfred Cibelli, Jr. as Jud Fry, Harris Hawkins as Will Parker, Mary Marlo as Aunt Eller, and Barbara Cook as Ado Annie.

Revived again in 1979, Oklahoma! played Dec 13, 1979 - Aug 24, 1980 at the Palace Theatre. Laurence Guittard played the role of Curly, and Christine Andreas as Laurey, alongside Bruce Adler as Ali Hakim, Martin Vidnovic as Jud Fry, Harry Groener as Will Parker, Mary Wickes as Aunt Eller, and Christine Ebersole as Ado Annie. The production was directed by William Hammerstein.

This production earned two Tony Award nominations, including Christine Andreas for Best Actress in a Musical and Harry Groener for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.

In addition, it was nominated for two Drama Desk Awards, including Harry Groener and Martin Vidnovic, both for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical.

Harry Groener received the Theatre World Award in 1980 for his portrayal of Will Parker.

This production released an updated cast recording, which you can listen to the title song from below:

Listen to the full cast recording here!

The most recent revival played at the Gershwin Theatre, from Mar 21, 2002 - Feb 23, 2003. Directed by Trevor Nunn, the cast included Patrick Wilson as Curly, Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey, Aasif Mandvi as Ali Hakim, Shuler Hensley as Jud Fry, Justin Bohon as Will Parker, Andrea Martin as Aunt Eller, and Jessica Boevers as Ado Annie.

This acclaimed revival was nominated for seven Tony Awards: Best Revival of a Musical, Patrick Wilson for Leading Actor, Shuler Hensley for Featured Actor (the only Tony this production received), Andrew Martin for Featured Actress, Best Direction (Trevor Nunn), Best Choreography (Susan Stroman), and Best Lighting Design (David Hersey).

In addition, the production was nominated for eight Drama Desk Awards, two of which it won. Nominations included Outstanding Revival, Outstanding Actor (Patrick Wilson), Outstanding Featured Actor (Shuler Hensley, who won the award, and Justin Bohon), Oustanding Featured Actress (Andrea Martin), Outstanding Director (Trevor Nunn), Outstanding Choreography (Susan Stroman, who won the award), Outstanding Set Design (Anthony Ward) and Outstanding Lighting Design (David Hersey).

Justin Bohon won the 2002 Theatre World Award for his portrayal of Will Parker.

Watch the cast's Tony Awards performance from 2002 below:

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