Cabrillo Music Theatre's OKLAHOMA! Coming to TOPAC This July

By: May. 29, 2015
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Once upon a time, musical theatre was a sometimes-random collection of songs, dances, and comedy bits. Then, along came OKLAHOMA!, the first collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. By pushing boundaries and creating new theatrical devices, OKLAHOMA! reinvented the musical theatre genre. A time-tested classic that feels as new today as ever, OKLAHOMA! includes favorite songs such as "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," "Many a New Day," "People Will Say We're in Love," "Surrey with the Fringe On Top," and "I Cain't Say No," among many others.

OKLAHOMA! opens on Friday, July 17th , 2015, playing until Sunday, July 26th, and features an added mid-week matinee on July 22nd , at the 1,800-seat Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.

OKLAHOMA! is the story of a headstrong cowboy, a stubborn woman and a territory destined for statehood. With music by Richard Rodgers and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, based on the play "Green Grow The Lilacs" by Lynn Riggs, OKLAHOMA! first opened on Broadway in 1943 and, in spite of some early skepticism, was greeted by rave reviews and sold out houses. In the end it ran for over five years and held the record for the longest-running musical for almost a decade. In 1955 the film adaptation was released starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones. Rodgers and Hammerstein were on set to personally oversee the film's production and to be sure that the integrity of the stage version was kept in tact as it was transferred to screen. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the film release of OKLAHOMA!

Cabrillo Music Theatre's brand-new production of OKLAHOMA! features soaring music, dazzling dance, and heart. Cabrillo's Artistic Director Lewis Wilkenfeld directs, joined by Choreographer John Charron, whose work on last season's BYE BYE BIRDIE earned him an Ovation Award Nomination. Musical Director Brian Kennedy conducts the Cabrillo Music Theatre Orchestra.

"As a Rodgers & Hammerstein fan, I am honored to be directing OKLAHOMA! again," says Cabrillo Music Theatre's Artistic Director, Lewis Wilkenfeld, who directed Cabrillo's previous production in 1997. "We're especially excited to be bringing our audiences a brand-new version of this American classic during the 60th anniversary of the film's release!" Adds Wilkenfeld, "Shirley Jones, who played Laurey in the film, is a long-time friend of Cabrillo and has graciously offered to make herself available for interviews, and has joined Cabrillo's Executive Advisory Board. Who knows? Someone in our audience may see our OKLAHOMA!, fall in love with musical theatre, and produce it for Cabrillo during its 100th Anniversary!!"

OKLAHOMA's impressive cast is led by Southern California theatre favorite Dan Callaway ("Thomas Jefferson" in Cabrillo's 1776) as "Curly," and newcomer Callandra Olivia as "Laurey." Providing support are Damon Kirsche (star of Cabrillo's CAMELOT and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS) as "Ali Hakim," Dynell Leigh ("Mrs. Brill" in Cabrillo's recent MARY POPPINS) as "Aunt Eller," as well as local favorites David Gilchrist (of Thousand Oaks) as "Andrew Carnes," Ventura's Ronald Rezac as "Cord Elam," and Camarillo's Richard Storrs as "Ike Skidmore." As has become a Cabrillo tradition, OKLAHOMA is teeming with young talent, and future stars include Melanie Mockobey ("Ado Annie"), Cameron Herbst ("Will Parker"), Claire Adams ("Gertie Cummings") and many more.

Cabrillo Music Theatre continues its nationally-recognized "Beyond the Footlights" Animal Rescue program during OKLAHOMA!, in which many organizations from across the community bring their animals to the Civic Arts Plaza at all performances. At past productions, such as CATS, BYE BYE BIRDIE, and LEGALLY BLONDE, Cabrillo Music Theatre has found homes for dozens of in-need animals, as well as helped to drive up donations and awareness for the organizations that do such good work. OKLAHOMA! eagerly promises even more successful additions to families. Audiences should arrive early at all performances to check out these worthy local animal rescue groups. As with all Cabrillo shows, OKLAHOMA! will feature a signed performance for the deaf and hard-of-hearing on Friday, July 24th, at 8:00PM.

In addition, to accommodate audience demand and requests from Cabrillo's seniors for this time-tested American classic, a mid-week matinee performance has been added on Wednesday, July 22nd, at 1:00PM, featuring lower prices for seniors and free parking.

Cabrillo Music Theatre's brand-new production of OKLAHOMA! is appropriate for all ages! Let Cabrillo Music Theatre's OKLAHOMA! sweep you off your feet with music, dance, and beautiful storytelling!


LEWIS WILKENFELD (Director/Artistic Director) has produced 38 shows across nine seasons as Artistic Director of Cabrillo Music Theatre. Under Lewis' leadership, Cabrillo has received 43 Ovation Award nominations and 7 wins. As director, Lewis' Cabrillo shows include: Mary Poppins, Bye Bye Birdie (both times!), You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Annie, The Sound of Music, Cinderella, Little Shop of Horrors, The King and I, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, The Music Man, and many more. Lewis has also directed 9 productions for L.A.'s prestigious Musical Theatre Guild.

JOHN CHARRON (Choreographer) Associate Choreographer for Peter Pan (Broadway, First National Tour, A&E Special-Emmy Nom, Tony Nom Best Revival), Associate Choreographer for Can Can (Pre Broadway) at Papermill Playhouse and Pasadena Playhouse, and Choreographer for Seussical The Musical (First National Tour). Regional Choreographer: Funny Girl Starring Stephanie J Block (Robbie Nom), Wizard Of Oz Starring Cathy Rigby (Drama Logue award, Robbie Nom), Bye Bye Birdie (Ovation Nom), Happy Days The Musical (Broadway World Winner), Gypsy (Robbie Nom), Beehive (Drama Logue award). Also, Regionally: Guys and Dolls, Music Man, Showboat, Pippin, Jesus Christ Superstar, 7 Brides For 7 Brothers, Damn Yankees, King And I, and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, just to name a few. Over the years John has worked for Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disney Seas Choreographing Stage shows, Parades, Special Events, National Tours and Television Specials. He had the privilege of Directing and Choreographing Ann-Margret's Here and Now Tour. Television Choreography: "Desperate House Wives," ABC's "Magic of the Stars, NBA All Star Game," and "Days of Our Lives."


DAN CALLAWAY (Curly McLain). Credits include 1776 at Cabrillo, The Phantom of the Opera (Broadway National Tour), Where's Charley (City Center Encores!), Pippin (Mark Taper Forum/Deaf West), Sweeney Todd and Spamalot (Musical Theatre West), Putting It Together (South Coast Rep), Pirates of Penzance (Guthrie Theater), and several productions with Musical Theatre Guild. Dan lives in his home state of North Carolina with overall superhero and wife, Melissa, and he teaches on the voice faculty at his alma mater, Elon University.

CALLANDRA OLIVIA (Laurey Williams) is delighted to make her Cabrillo Music Theatre debut as "Laurey". She hails from Minnesota, where she recently graduated with a BFA Musical Theatre degree and a minor in Dance from Minnesota State University Mankato. She recently returned from performing at the Kennedy Center in D.C. where she was recognized as a National Finalist for Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Most recently she appeared as "Ariel" in Footloose at Crane River Theatre. Professional/Favorite credits include "Sandy" in Grease, "Gertrude" in Seussical, and "Maria" in The Sound of Music. School credits include "Janet" in The Drowsy Chaperone, "Eponine" in LES MISERABLES, "Elle Woods" in Legally Blonde, and "Wendla" in Spring Awakening.

DAMON KIRSCHE (Ali Hakim): is delighted to return to Cabrillo where he was last seen as "Dentist Orin Scrivello" (et. al.) in Little Shop of Horrors. He recently appeared with Dean Mora and his Orchestra at the Art Deco Ball on Catalina Island, and in tributes to Irving Berlin with both the Kritzerland series at LA's Federal Bar, and with the Fred Barton Orchestra in the American Showstoppers series at NY's Schimmel Center. Recent: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ("Gage") - Moss Theatre, Beautiful Girls - Pitman Hall, University of Oklahoma, 42nd Street ("Marsh") - MTWichita, A Passing Wind ("Pujol") - Kimmel Center (Barrymore nomination- premiere). Recordings: "Goblin Market," "Devil's Serenade," "In Here: Music and Lyrics by Charles Bloom," "The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936," "Tip-Toes." Film/TV: "Gods and Generals" ("Harry McCarthy") "Star Trek: Voyager" ("Nuu'bari"). Training: Juilliard.

OKLAHOMA! will open on Friday, July 17th, 2015, and run through Sunday, July 26th. Performances are Thursday at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm, with a special Wednesday Matinee performance for the public on July 22nd at 1:00pm. A post-show discussion with cast, staff, and audience will follow the Saturday, July 18th, 2:00pm performance. A signed performance for the deaf and hard-of-hearing will be on Friday, July 24th, at 8:00PM.

Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Box Office located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks, or through any Ticketmaster location, or by phone (800) 745-3000. For groups of 10 or more, call Group Sales, Cabrillo Music Theatre at (805) 497-8613 x3. Ticket prices range from $30-$75. For ticket and theatre information, call (805) 449-ARTS (2787). OKLAHOMA! performs exclusively at the Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Bank of America Performing Arts Center, at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.

Cabrillo Music Theatre is the Ovation Award-winning Resident Musical Theatre Production Company of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, and a non-profit theatre organization. For over three decades, Cabrillo has been enriching the cultural life of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties and the surrounding areas by providing an extraordinary performing arts experience through live, Broadway-quality productions of musical theatre. It is Cabrillo's mission to provide the highest quality musical experience, to foster educational opportunities, and to promote cultural and artistic enrichment to enhance the quality of life in Southern California. By creating opportunity for up-and-coming performers and artists, Cabrillo has launched hundreds to success in theatre, movies, television and music, including Adam Lambert, Katharine McPhee, and Tony nominee Stephanie J. Block. In addition, Cabrillo Music Theatre goes "Beyond the Footlights" with Outreach programs to give back to the community, and to provide enhanced theatre experiences for all audiences. Since the inception of "Beyond the Footlights," over 42,000 underserved children, in-need seniors, and active military have enjoyed Cabrillo Music Theatre's productions at no charge. In addition, Cabrillo provides ASL signed performances of every production; talkbacks with cast and staff; and Cabrillo's Animal Rescue program, which raises funds and awareness for homeless and abused dogs and cats. For more information about Cabrillo Music Theatre's "Beyond the Footlights" programs call (805) 497-8613 x1 or write to


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