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'Oklahoma' opens this week

The Front Porch Players stage will come alive on September 5, 6, 7, 12,13, & 14 with some hootin’ and a hollerin’ as they proudly present the perennial classic, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s” Oklahoma! “Featuring a 23-person cast and crew comprised of residents from Henry, Clayton, Fulton, Fayette, and even Gwinnett counties, the production will take place at the Family Center of the First Presbyterian Church of Jonesboro.

Based on the 1931 play “Green Grow the Lilacs” by Lynn Riggs, “Oklahoma!” was the first collaboration of Rodgers & Hammerstein and contains some of their best-known music, such as “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning,” “Surrey With the Fringe on the Top,” “I Cain’t Say No,” and of course, “Oklahoma!”

Set against the backdrop of the Oklahoma Territory at the turn of the century, the musical tells the story of cowboy Curly McLain (Jack Allison of Roswell) and farmgirl Laurey Williams (College Park’s Joanna Griffin) and the pride that keeps them apart; childhood sweethearts not-so-bright Will Parker (Jakson Mulhall of Tyrone) and Ado Annie (Peachtree City’s Alison Chambers), who has recently blossomed and is enjoying all of the new attention; and rough farmhand Jud Fry (Gary Wofford of McDonough) who is obsessed with Laurey and willing to do anything to get her.

Fayetteville’s Barbara Zellner is the feisty Aunt Eller.

Karen Ferrell-White brings her expertise to the role of director of this large production, and the musical direction is in the capable hands of Lucy Stembridge.

What has been called “the best musical of the 20th Century” opened on Broadway in 1943 and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances. It won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1944, and the 1955 film adaptation won an Academy Award.

Playwright Thomas Hischak once noted, “Not only is Oklahoma! the most important of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, it is also the single most influential work in the American musical theatre. It is the first fully integrated musical play and its blending of song, character, plot, and even dance would serve as the model for Broadway shows for decades.”

Curtain is at 8 p.m. for Friday and Saturday night performances and 2:30 p.m. for Sunday matinees. Ticket prices are as follows: Reserved seating is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (55+), $10 for children, and general admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for children. To purchase tickets, for directions, or for more information, please visit: www.TheFrontPorchPlayers.com or call (770) 897-1404.

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