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.