‘Oklahoma!’ Comes to the Dorset Playhouse
The Dorset Players will bring down the curtain on their 91st anniversary season with ‘Oklahoma!,’ considered one of the seminal musicals in Broadway history. Performances will be at the Dorset Playhouse on Friday and Saturday, May 17,18, 24 and 25, at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, May 19 and 26 at 2 p.m. The first collaboration of legendary lyricist Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, the show was a game-changer when it took Broadway by storm in 1943. Memorable songs such as ’Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’,’ ‘People Will Say We’re In Love’ and ‘Oklahoma!,’ advanced the story of a cowboy, Curly, who falls for a farm girl, Laurey, against the backdrop of prairie life in the Indian Territory, circa 1907.
Over the past four months, director Suzi Dorgeloh and musical director Tom Salmon have marshaled a talented cast of 23 from 17 area towns in Vermont and New York. Newcomer Josh Bond takes the lead as Curly, while Danielle Houston is Laurey. Danielle, who last appeared with The Players in the 2014 production of ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ also charmed Dorset audiences as Nancy in ‘Oliver’ and Eliza Doolittle in ‘My Fair Lady.’ Dana Haley, who wowed audiences with her turns in The Players’ productions of ‘Bus Stop’ and ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ sashays in as Ado Annie, the girl “who cain’t say no.” Joe Mozer, fresh from a leading role in ‘Witness for the Prosecution,’ takes the stage in something completely different as Will, who does his utmost to romance Ado Annie. Drew Davidson, just off his leading role in ‘Witness,’ portrays the tortured Jud Fry, who pines for Laurey and cannot have her.
The balance of the cast is peppered with new and familiar faces to Dorset audiences, including Christy Vogel as Gertie, Caren McVicker as Aunt Eller, Richard Grip as Ike Skidmore, Chris Restino as the merchant Ali Hakim, Billy Jamieson as Slim, Dan Silver as Fred, Errol Hill as Andrew Carnes and Annie Nash as Kate. Michael Gallagher, who in December was musical director of the Players’ production of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,’ appears onstage for the first time with his daughter Lily Gallagher, who portrayed the title character in that show. Michael plays a farmer, Mike, and Lily is Aggie.
Suzi Dorgeloh, who appeared as a dance hall girl in The Players’ 1993 production of ‘Oklahoma!,’ is delighted to welcome Kelly Gaiotti as choreographer, who has been putting the cast through lots of paces as she attempts to recreate a truncated version of the show’s original choreography by Agnes De Mille, including the haunting dream sequence.
The box office will be open Tuesday through Thursday, May 14 to 16 and 21 to 23 from 4 to 7 p.m., as well as at least two hours before each performance. Tickets can be purchased at dorsetplayers.org, in person or by calling 802-867-5777. ‘Oklahoma!’ is sponsored by Above All Vermont, The Barn Restaurant, Errol L. Hill Painting, La Peche Lingerie, RK Miles, Southern Vermont Medical Center, Bob and Martha Schoenemann, Spivey, Lemonik Swenor, PC and The Wilburton Inn.