BWW Interview: Randall Wrisinger Says OKLAHOMA! at Stagecrafters Is Lighthearted, Fun, and Good for All Ages
From May 17th through June 9th, you "cain't say no" to Oklahoma!, which will be playing on the main stage at Royal Oak's Stagecrafters. As Rodger and Hammerstein's very first collaboration, Oklahoma! is essentially the quintessential Golden Age musical. It first opened on Broadway on March 31, 1943, before the Tony Awards were even established, and it ended up playing for more than 2,000 performances. Currently, Oklahoma! is in the midst of its fourth Broadway revival, which is nominated for eight 2019 Tony Awards. BWW Detroit had the opportunity to speak with the director of Oklahoma! at Stagecrafters, Randall Wrisinger. Check out our conversation below!
BWW Detroit: Can you give BWW readers a brief background of yourself and your theatre career?
Randall Wrisinger: I started doing theatre at a young age, and after high school and college I started directing community theatre. I came to Stagecrafters 11 years ago and Oklahoma! marks the 11th production I've either directed or music-directed here.
What was your introduction to Oklahoma!?
The first time I discovered Oklahoma! was the movie because it's a standard classic. Then, later in my life, I had the opportunity to direct Oklahoma! at another community theatre when I lived in Missouri.
How would you describe Oklahoma! in 10 words or less?
It's lighthearted, it's fun, it's good for all ages.
What makes Stagecrafters' production of this classic musical unique? Are you reimagining it like the current revival in New York, or are you going a more classic route?
I changed some things up a bit in a sense of placement of where scenes take place. I'm keeping it like the original production, but we have a unit, static set so we won't be changing scenes each time. Classic American musicals are long, and doing this show with a unit set keeps the story moving because the cast can get out on stage quicker.
What's it like working with the cast on this script and this score?
They are a joy to work with. They have so much fun, and it's evident the way they sing their songs and the energy they have while dancing. Audiences are in for a real treat.
What's your favorite song(s) in the show, and why?
I have a few. For the whole cast it's "The Farmer and the Cowman." In addition, Laurey and Curly sing another great song, "People Will Say We're in Love." Audience members will see that song originally in the first act when they're just beginning to figure out if there is something there, then there is also the reprise in the second act that comes when they find out they are meant to be together.
What would you say to someone who's not accustomed to Golden Age musicals to get them to come see Oklahoma! at Stagecrafters?
Oklahoma!, Rodgers and Hammerstein's first musical, is a true American Musical Classic! Both the incredible and memorable music with the storyline takes the audience members through the journey of Laurey as she follows her heart with two completely opposite suitors, eventually finding her love throughout this journey.
If you enjoy musical theatre, this is a great show for you. It has a large cast, great costumes and sets, big dance numbers, and music that will have you humming as you exit the theatre at the end of the night. A not-to-be-missed show to end our season!
Oklahoma! runs May 17th through June 9th on Stagecrafters' Main Stage in Royal Oak. For more information and tickets, visit www.stagecrafters.org.
Connect with Stagecrafters on Twitter at @StagecraftersMI, on Instagram at @stagecraftersmi, and on Facebook at facebook.com/StagecraftersMI.