REHEARSALS are well underway for Birr Stage Guild’s upcoming musical Oklahoma, which will run from March 28 to April 2.
Rogers & Hammerstein first and most popular musical bursts into life amid the prairies and corn fields of the Mid West Territories of Oklahoma in 1906. The action is played out by a host of colourful characters, swept along with great chorus numbers and classic songs such “Oh What A Beautiful Morning”, “Surry With A Fringe On Top”, “I Can’t Say No” and “People Will Say We’re In Love”.
Nearly 30 years since they last dusted off their cowboy hats, Birr Stage Guild has once again assembled a top class production team with Enda O’Connor Musical Director, Paul Norton Director, Julianne McNamara Choreographer and John O’Donoghue Designer.
Theatre Critic GV Oakley wrote of the 1982 production “This Oklahoma is out on its own and the overall impact tremendous. The singing by principals and chorus is the best ever heard since the foundation of the Guild, acting is of a uniformly high standard, the dancing is most impressive and the staging first class.”
Director, Choreographer and Designer Ray Jeffrey was the powerhouse behind that production. An exacting taskmaster, he demanded total commitment and high standards from cast and crews. With his three Stage Guild productions My Fair Lady (1981), Oklahoma (1982) and Half a Sixpence (1983) he left a legacy of stagecraft in every discipline he taught, from which Birr Stage Guild has since reaped many rewards.
Staging a large scale Rodgers & Hammerstein musical such as Oklahoma on a small stage with no wing space, backstage, or fly facilities, presents a huge challenge for the 2011 production. This has largely been overcome with a stunning set design by John O’Donoghue, who designs mainly for professional drama and opera. Award winning Actor/Director Paul Norton has assembled a talented cast who are rising to the challenge.
Birr Stage Guild is fortunate to have Enda O’Connor, one of the country’s most talented young musical directors, as MD and conductor.
Details about tickets for Oklahoma are available from Birr Theatre & Arts Centre box office on 057-9122911, Monday to Friday from 1pm to 5.30pm, www.birrstageguild.com or Facebook.