Theatre department to open ‘Oklahoma!’ Wednesday at Scott Theatre

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    Members of the TCU Department of Theatre have spent 20 to 25 hours each week for over two months preparing for this year's spring musical, Richard Rodgers' and Oscar Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!", a classic story about prairie life, the Oklahoma land run and the settling of the West.

    Harry Parker, chair of the theater department, said the cast has rehearsed, the costume studio has built over 100 costumes, the scenic studio has created scenery and props for the show and the lighting and sound designers have worked on the lights and tuned microphones.

    "We were excited to pick "Oklahoma!' because it is generally a classic," Parker said. "It is considered to be one of the most important and popular musicals to work on, and for our students it is a big challenge."

    Parker said "Oklahoma!" is based on the time period after the beginning of the 20th century and contains many difficult song and dance routines.

    "We pick shows in part because of the training it will provide for the people in our program," he said. "We pick shows for our season based on audience appeal and also exposure to important pieces of literature for [our] academic institution."

    Alex Bush, a sophomore theatre major with an emphasis in musical theatre, said he believed "Oklahoma!" was chosen this year because it is considered the first musical to incorporate song, dance and story all in one. Bush will play Jud in the musical.

    "It is a very important piece of theater, and it's just a really fun show." Bush said.

    Compared to previous shows, Bush said "Oklahoma!" is much larger in scale and features an older style of theater.

    Parker said the musical features 31 cast members from the theater department and around 54 other students were involved in the overall production. Auditions for the show were open to all students, including non-theatre majors, and required students to perform a song and a monologue, as well as perform a dance piece.

    Daniel Floren, a sophomore film-television-digital media major, was cast as Curly in the production.

    "In preparation for my role I had to read up on the character and read the script over and over again and get a feel of what the world was like in Claremore, Oklahoma, where the musical takes place," he said.

    Floren said he has enjoyed his time with the production and realized how much talent participants had.

    "Since I first got cast it has been an amazing experience to work with everyone involved with the production," he said. "A text like "Oklahoma!" is so rich and historic, and it has been a great experience to be involved in such a historic play."