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Look Back at the Original Production of Oklahoma! on Broadway

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical Oklahoma! is based on Lynn Riggs’ play Green Grow the Lilacs, which appeared on Broadway in 1931. Originally titled Away We Go!, the show premiered at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven in 1943, and later at the Colonial Theatre in Boston where it was further developed ahead of its Broadway run.

Renamed Oklahoma!, the musical opened on Broadway at the St. James in 1943 and ran for almost five years, setting records with its 2,212 performances. The show featured a cast that included Alfred Drake as Curly, Howard Da Silva as Jud Fry, Joan Roberts as Laurey, Celeste Holm as Ado Annie Carnes, Betty Garde as Aunt Eller, Joseph Buloff as Ali Hakim, Lee Dixon as Will Parker, and Ralph Riggs as Andrew Carnes.

Oklahoma! tells the story of a confident cowboy competes with a surly, mysterious farmhand for the honor of taking a lovely young farm woman to a dance. The original production featured dance sequences by Agnes de Mille, including a famed dream ballet, that broke new ground in choreography

Since it’s Broadway debut, Oklahoma! has returned to the Main Stem five times, most recently with Daniel Fish’s re-imagined revival in 2019. The Tony Award-winning production, which featured new arrangements and orchestrations by Daniel Kluger, was first mounted at Bard College in 2015. It was followed by a sold-out run at St. Ann’s Warehouse in the fall of 2018 before making its 328-performance Broadway run at the Circle in the Square Theatre.

LISTEN: Ruben Santiago-Hudson Talks SEVEN GUITARS & More on AND THE AWARD GOES TO…

Ruben Santiago-Hudson had dreamed of being in an August Wilson from the first time he was in the audience ofMa Raineys Black Bottom. He found himself crying during the play and realized he was not just deeply moved by the play and the actors in it but the tears were connected to this feeling that for the first time in his life he was seeing people on stage who were so familiar to him and he wanted to be a part of that kind of storytelling.

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It Documentary to Play in Theatres This June

Roadside Attractions has acquired Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, the new documentary about EGOT winner Rita Moreno. The film, which debuted at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, will be released June 18 in theatres.

PBS’ American Masters will present the U.S. broadcast premiere of the documentary sometime after the theatrical release.

Directed by Mariem Pérez Riera, the film chronicles Moreno from her early years in Puerto Rico through her childhood as an immigrant in New York City and the racial bias she faced in the studio system, while breaking down barriers and overcoming sexism and identity discrimination with integrity.

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In addition to Moreno, others featured in the doc are George Chakiris, Héctor Elizondo, Gloria Estefan, Tom Fontana, Morgan Freeman, Mitzi Gaynor, Whoopi Goldberg, Norman Lear, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Karen Olivo.

“Rita is an incredible inspiration to so many, hers is a success story for all women who feel alone as they struggle to assert themselves with courage and bravery against heavy odds,” offered director Pérez Riera. “We are so thrilled to bring Rita to theatres for audiences to spend time with a woman who, when speaking about herself, speaks to and for a lot of us.”

American Masters Pictures and Act III Productions in association with Artemis Rising and Maramar Films present the film. Executive producers are Michael Kantor, Lyn Davis Lear, Norman Lear, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Regina K. Scully; producers are Brent Miller and Pérez Riera. The documentary also has cinematography by P.J. López, music by Kathryn Bostic, and editing by Kevin Klauber and Pérez Riera. It is co-produced by Ilia J. Vélez-Dávila.

Moreno has received all of the most prestigious awards in show business, including the Oscar, the Tony, two Emmys, and a Grammy. She received The Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American Culture and was honored by her peers as the 50th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. Moreno was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

Moreno earned a Tony Award for her work in Broadway’s The Ritz; having earned an Oscar for her performance as Anita in the 1961 film adaptation of West Side Story, she’ll return to the musical in the upcoming remake as Valentina, a new take on the character Doc.

Listen to Celia Keenan-Bolger and Phillipa Soo in Latest Episode of Sunday Pancakes

The latest episode of Celia Keenan-Bolger’s new podcast, Sunday Pancakes, features Hamilton Tony nominee Phillipa Soo. In “Prioritizing Your Personal Life,” the pair talk about the ongoing struggle to improve our work-life balance and tools to ensure you can continue to make space for your own needs.

In addition to the one-on-one discussion, Keenan-Bolger continues her weekly round-up of what she’s reading, watching, and listening to as well as any specific works that help enhance and contextualize the listening experience. This week’s list includes The Art Of Gathering by Priya Parker, the interactive experience Death Over Dinner, and the What Next podcast’s episode entitled “A Year of Anti-Asian Violence” along with a follow-up article on Slate.

New episodes of Sunday Pancakes drop every Sunday at 9 AM ET. You can listen and subscribe to Sunday Pancakes at Playbill.com/SundayPancakes and everywhere podcasts are available. The podcast is produced by Plate Spinner Productions, edited and mixed by Apples and Oranges Arts, and distributed by Playbill.

After Hamilton, Soo starred in Amélie and The Parisian Woman on Broadway. More recently, she appeared on the CBS series The Code and in Clubbed Thumb’s production of Tumacho.

Look Back at Patti LuPone, Laura Benanti, and More in Gypsy on Broadway

Following its concert presentation at City Center Encores! in 2007, Gypsy returned to Broadway, opening at the St. James Theatre March 27, 2008. The revival, directed by librettist Arthur Laurents, played 27 previews and 332 performances before closing on January 11, 2008. The production garnered seven Tony Awards, winning three: Best Actress in a Musical for Patti LuPone, Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Laura Benanti, and Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Boyd Gaines.

Based on Gypsy Rose Lee’s memoirs, Gypsy tells the story of indomitable stage mother Rose as she chases vicarious success and stardom by pushing her daughters through the vaudeville circuit. When Baby June flees the act to elope, Rose vows to make introverted Louise into a star.

In addition to LuPone, Benanti, and Gaines, the revival starred Leigh Ann Larkin as Dainty June, Tony Yazbeck as Tulsa, Marilyn Caskey as Electra, Alison Fraser as Tessie Tura, Lenora Nemetz as Miss Cratchitt/Mazeppa, Bill Bateman as Mr. Goldstone/Georgie/Bougeron-Cochon, Jim Bracchitta as Uncle Jocko/Pastey, Bill Raymond as Cigar/Pop, Brian Reddy as Phil/Weber, Emma Rowley as Baby Louise, Mindy Dougherty as Geraldine, Matty Price as East St. Louis, and Geo Seery as Little Rock. Rounding out the cast were ensemble members Katie Micha, Beckley Andrews, Nancy Renée Braun, Kyrian Friedenberg, Sarah Marie Hicks, Steve Konopelski, Matthew Lobenhofer, Nicole Mangi, andy Richardson, Jessica Rush, Alicia Sable, John Scacchetti, Rider Quentin Stanton, and Pearce Wegener with Dorothy Stanley, Matt Gibson, Andrew Boyer, Rider Quentin Stanton, and Lisa Rohinsky as standbys.

Gypsy featured original direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins, reproduction choreography by Bonnie Walker, scenic design by James Youmans, costume design by Martin Pakledinaz, lighting design by Howell Binkley, and sound design by Dan Moses Schreier with stage management by Craig Jacobs, Gary Mickelson, Tom Capps, and Nancy Elizabeth Vest. Visit the Playbill Vault for the complete cast and creative team.