OKLAHOMA!, Featuring Beth Leavel, Ben Davis & More, Begins Tonight at The Muny
The Muny presents Oklahoma! (tonight, August 10, through August 16) directed by Rob Ruggiero, choreographed by Susan Stroman and music directed by Kevin Stites. Ginger Thatcher will restage Ms. Stroman's choreography.
The full cast includes Ben Davis (Curly), Christine Cornish Smith (Laurey), Alexander Gemignani (Jud Fry), Clyde Davis (Will Parker), Jenni Barber (Ado Annie), Nehal Joshi (Ali Hakim) and Beth Leavel as Aunt Eller. The ensemble includes Kyle Nicholas Anderson, Drew Battles, Michael Baxter, Anna Blair, Brandon Block, Stephen Brower, Enrique Brown, Colby Dezelick, Matt Faucher, Sally Glaze, Tanya Haglund, Erika Hebron, Steve Isom, Kate Arrington Johnson, Audrey Kennedy, Joe Longthorne, Ben Nordstrom, Tanner Pflueger, Blakely Slaybaugh, April Strelinger, Karilyn Ashley Surratt, Emily Tate, Shaver Tillitt, Zoe Vonder Haar, Scarlett Walker and Keaton Whittaker.
The Pulitzer Prize winning Oklahoma! returns to Forest Park in grand style. In its first Muny production since 2007, this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic features such classic songs as "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top," "People Will Say We're in Love," and of course its beloved title song.
Scenic design is by Michael Schweikardt, with costume design by Amy Clark, lighting design by John Lasiter, sound design by John Shivers and Hugh Sweeney, and video design by Rob Denton. Wig design is by John Metzner and the production stage manager is Monica Dickhens. Oklahoma! is proudly sponsored by US Bank.
BEN DAVIS (Curly) was last seen at The Muny as Emile de Becque in the 2013 production of South Pacific. He recently starred in the BBC Proms production of Kiss Me, Kate as Fred/Petruchio. Broadway credits include Violet (Preacher), A Little Night Music (Mr. Lindquist, u/s Carl Magnus, Fredrik), LES MISERABLES (Javert and Enjolras), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Trevor Graydon), Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme (Marcello, 2003 Tony Honor), Lincoln Center American Songbook series, Kurt Weill's Knickerbocker Holiday (Brom Broeck) opposite Kelli O'Hara and Victor Garber, Westchester Philharmonic with Kelli O'Hara, LA Philharmonic. Film/TV: Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute directed by Kenneth Branagh.
CHRISTINE CORNISH SMITH (Laurey) is honored to make her Muny debut. A Texas native, she started her artistic career as a principle dancer with the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. National Tour: Reuben's Wife in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, directed by Andy Blankenbeuhler. Regional: Oklahoma! (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Guys and Dolls (Godspeed Opera House), Holiday Pops 2013/2014 (Fort Wayne Philharmonic), and Fiorello (Lyric Stage). Education: BFA, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Miss Smith was also a finalist in the Kurt Weill Foundation's 2015 Lotte Lenya competition.
ALEXANDER GEMIGNANI (Jud Fry) Broadway: Violet, Chicago, LES MISERABLES (Drama League nomination), Sweeney Todd (Drama Desk nomination), Assassins (Theatre World Award), The People In The Picture, Sunday in the Park With George. Off-Broadway: Road Show (Drama League nomination), Headstrong and Avenue Q. Favorite Regional: The Three Sisters, The Boys From Syracuse and Saint-Ex. Concerts: Sondheim! The Birthday Concert with the NY Philharmonic, the NY Pops, and The LA Philharmonic. TV/Film: Homeland, The Good Wife, Empire State, Passion (Live from Lincoln Center), South Pacific (Great Performances), The Producers. Member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a graduate of the University of Michigan.
CLYDE ALVES (Will Parker) is excited to be making his debut at The Muny! He is currently on hiatus from starring as Ozzie in the Broadway revival of On The Town. Other Broadway credits: Bullets Over Broadway, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Anything Goes, Wicked, Hairspray, Oklahoma!, and The Music Man (Tommy Djilas, 2000 Astaire Award winner). Clyde reprised his performance as Tommy Djilas in ABC's Movie Of The Week, The Music Man. Off-Broadway: Altar Boyz (Juan). National Tours: A Chorus Line (Mike).
JENNI BARBER (Ado Annie) Muny debut! Broadway: Wicked (Glinda), The Nance (Joan), Annie (Grace Farrell), The Performers (Sundown LeMay), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Olive Ostrovsky). NYC/Regional: Private Lives (Hartford Stage), As You Like It and The Tempest (directed by Sam Mendes with The Bridge Project), From Up Here (MTC), Paint Your Wagon (NY Encores!). Television: Elementary, Smash, Law & Order: SVU, The Electric Company. Audiobooks: First Born, Then Came You, The Dork Diaries. Proud University of Michigan graduate.
NEHAL JOSHI (Ali Hakim) Broadway: LES MISERABLES (original revival cast), Threepenny Opera (Roundabout). Off-Broadway: Working (Drama Desk Award), Falling for Eve. Regional includes: Arena Stage, Dallas Theater Center, Goodman Theatre, Kennedy Center, The Old Globe, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Shakespeare Theater. Film/TV credits include HBO's The Wire, Blackout (BET). Video game: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.
BETH LEAVEL (Aunt Eller) 11 Broadway shows, including The Drowsy Chaperone (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, LA Drama Critics Awards), Baby It's You (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics nominations), Elf, Mamma Mia!, Young Frankenstein, 42nd Street (revival), Crazy For You, The Civil War, Hal Prince's Show Boat, 42nd Street (original Broadway). Numerous cast recordings, off-Broadway shows, 54 Below solo cabaret show, regional theatre. Proud cast member of the web series Submissions Only. Also Law & Order and the final episode of ER! Ms. Leavel received her MFA from University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
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