The 5th Avenue Theatre brings the wide open plains to Seattle with a reimagining of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! Tony-nominated choreographer Donald Byrd and his Spectrum Dance Theatre are joining forces with director Peter Rothstein to take this grand all-American musical back to basics, exploring everything from race and romance to the hopes of a young and growing nation, filled with possibility. Oklahoma! features Seattle star Eric Ankrim as Curly opposite Alexandra Zorn, a radiant up-and-comer in the role of Laurey. Kyle Scatliffe takes on the menacing role of Jud Fry. Also joining the cast are 5th Avenue veterans Anne Allgood, Allen Fitzpatrick, Matt Owen, and Daniel C. Levine alongside local rising star Kirsten Delohr Helland.
Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! plays through March 4, 2012 at The 5th Avenue Theatre (1308 5th Avenue, Seattle). Tickets (starting at $29.00) may be purchased at www.5thavenue.org, by phone at 206-625-1900, or at the Box Office at 1308 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle.
The 5th Avenue will take a new look at this beloved American treasure. "Oklahoma! is truly the quintessential American musical," said Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong. "The beautiful story and score by Rodgers and Hammerstein have become a deeply engrained part of our culture. Our production will honor that great tradition while keeping the show fresh and exciting. We'll be approaching this script as though it is the first time anyone has seen it." To that end, the show will try to reflect the state of race in America at the turn of the century. In 1906, the Oklahoma Territory had one of the largest populations of free blacks in the country. The 5th Avenue Theatre production will feature an interracial cast including African American performer Kyle Scatliffe as Jud Fry.
About the Choreographer
It is fitting that the Tony Award-nominated choreographer Donald Byrd should take on the beautiful dance sequences in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! The stunning dream ballet was originally choreographed for the stage by the celebrated dancer Agnes De Mille, the same iconic choreographer who told Byrd his dance belonged in New York. Prior to his current decade-long tenure as the artistic director of Seattle's Spectrum Dance Theatre, he was the artistic director of Donald Byrd/The Group, a critically acclaimed contemporary dance company based in Los Angeles and New York, which toured extensively nationally and internationally. He has created more than 80 modern dance works for his own troupes as well as for the Alvin Ailey Company, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), among others. He has worked with some of the most prestigious theater and opera companies in the U.S., including New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Intiman Theater, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, New York City Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Aterballetto, MaggioDanza diFirenze, and Oregon Ballet Theater.
Byrd has served on the faculty of the California Institute for the Arts and taught at Wesleyan University, the School of Visual Arts, Harvard Summer Dance Center, California State University Long Beach, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. He was a fellow at The Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard for three years. Byrd also served for three terms on the Seattle Arts Commission. In 2006, he received a Tony nomination for his choreography for The Color Purple. Most recently, he was awarded a Mayor's Arts Award for his sustained contributions to the City of Seattle, he has been selected as one of the first group of Fellows to the American Academy in Jerusalem, and he was selected by United States Artists for a 2012 Fellowship Award.
About the Cast
Northwest native Eric Ankrim is taking center stage as the handsome cow hand Curly. Ankrim has previously been seen on The 5th Avenue stage in Into the Woods, Miss Saigon, and The Rocky Horror Show, and touring with The 5th Avenue Theatre's Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company. Ankrim, who recently directed Spring Awakening with Balagan Theatre Company and performed in ACT's A Christmas Carol, will also star in the world premiere of First Date this March in a co-production between ACT and The 5th Avenue Theatre. This rising musical theatre star has performed all over the Seattle area including Seattle Rep, Seattle Children's Theatre, The Empty Space, and Village Theatre.
Radiant starlet Alexandra Zorn joins the cast as Laurey. Zorn starred as Maria in West Side Story at New York's Gateway Playhouse and was featured in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Kyle Scatliffe plays Jud Fry. The Lotte Lenya Competition Finalist has performed in theatres around the country including at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina amd the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, as well as part of Town Hall New York's Broadway's Rising Stars. Additionally, Scatliffe played Jafar in a new production of Aladdin for Disney Cruise Lines.
Joining the cast as Aunt Eller is Seattle favorite Anne Allgood. Allgood's list of performance credits is extensive. Her 5th Avenue productions include A Christmas Story, Candide, Company, Gypsy, The Secret Garden, Memphis, and Sunday in the Park with George. She has toured regionally in Urinetown, Evita and Floyd Collins, and nationally in tours of Parade and Beauty and the Beast. On Broadway, she performed in The Most Happy Fella, Carousel, Beauty and the Beast, The Sound of Music and Imaginary Friends. Allgood's Seattle credits include roles at ACT, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Village Theatre, and Seattle Children's Theatre.
Ado Annie, Will Parker and Ali Hakim (Oklahoma!'s light-hearted love triangle) are played by Kirsten Delohr Helland, Matt Owen and Daniel C. Levine, respectively. Helland is making her main stage debut at The 5th as Ado Annie after touring as the star of Rosie the Riveter with Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company. A recent graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, Helland has made a splash on the Seattle theater scene performing with Village Theatre, Tacoma Musical Playhouse and Contemporary Classics. Kirkland native Matt Owen is returning to Seattle to play the love-struck Will Parker. He was last seen here as Chip in On the Town. He has eleven 5th Avenue productions on his résumé including Sunday in the Park with George, Mame, Gypsy, Pippin, Wonderful Town, 1776, and Anything Goes. He has also performed extensively in New York and Los Angeles. Daniel C. Levine returns to The 5th Avenue Theatre to play the wiley peddler Ali HakiM. Levine has previously been seen at The 5th as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, as well as in Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat and Company. His Broadway credits include The Rocky Horror Show, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Chicago. Other national credits include The Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors, as well as roles in Mamma Mia!, Les Misérables, and Tommy.
Other Seattle sensations who pepper the cast include Allen Fitzpatrick as Andrew Carnes and David Pichette as Ike Skidmore. Fitzpatrick returns immediately to The 5th after closing Cinderella. He has appeared previously in Sweeney Todd, Candide, On the Town, Memphis, and Cabaret, among many others. His Broadway credits include Les Misérables, 42nd Street, Driving Miss Daisy, and Memphis. David Pichette's resume is one for the record books, with multiple credits in every major theater in town. His 5th Avenue credits include 1776, My Fair Lady, Wonderful Town, and most recently Candide.