“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves, and to others, the inner vision which guides us as a Nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.” – President Lyndon Johnson, 1965
What is Theatre Connections?
Theatre Connections is the School of Theatre’s initiative to get involved in the campus and local communities, and to encourage students and residents to be socially and politically active through the arts.
For Spring 2013, Theatre Connections is focusing on the School of Theatre’s production of Oklahoma, by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and will be presented February 22, 23, 27, 28, March 1 and 2 at 7:30 pm and February 24 at 2:00 pm in the Center for the Performing Arts, directed by Richard Corley.
About the Play
Summary of the play from Stage Agent
The classic musical is the story of Laurey and the two rivals for her affections: Curly, a cowboy, and Jud, the hired farmhand. The play takes place in 1906 in an Indian territory of the American West during the time when Oklahoma was established as a state. It tackles class issues between the farmers and the cowmen in the still-developing, rugged landscape of a state in its infancy as characters struggle to find hope, love and the fulfillment of "the American Dream." It is also a romantic tale of love. Curly and Laurey both have feelings for each other but have difficulty expressing it because of their stubbornness. Just to spite Curly, Laurey accepts an invitation to the local dance from the evil Jud Fry. Eventually, Curly and Jud duel it out, with Jud ending up falling on his own knife and dying. Meanwhile, Will Parker has returned early from his trip to Kansas City. Unfortunately, his girlfriend, Ado Annie, just can't seem to say no to other men. All turns out well in the end as both couples end up happily married.
About the Playwrights
After long and highly distinguished careers with other collaborators, Richard Rodgers (composer) and Oscar Hammerstein II (librettist/lyricist) joined forces to create the most consistently fruitful and successful partnership in the American musical theatre. Oklahoma the first Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, was also the first of a new genre, the musical play, representing a unique fusion of Rodgers' musical comedy and Hammerstein's operetta. A milestone in the development of the American musical, it also marked the beginning of the most successful partnership in Broadway musical history.
About our Production of Oklahoma
For our production of Oklahoma we want to call back to myths and ideas of Americana and explore our roots. It is a celebration of rural America, but we also want to examine the grit and struggle that many territorial populations dealt with. It is about handcrafted, manmade communities striving to create their own identity and become part of the nation.
Civic Engagement Project
Home Sweet Home Ministries
In Oklahoma, there is an auction of homemade lunch baskets. This semester our department is working with Home Sweet Home Ministries to provide our own versions of “Lunch Baskets” for people in need. Home Sweet Home Ministries has been providing food, shelter, and hope to the hungry, homeless and hurting since 1917 beginning right here in Bloomington-Normal. Because Oklahoma has so much to do with working alongside your neighbors, we wanted our service project this year to help a local organization and strengthen our community.
At each show we will be collecting canned goods and other non-perishable foods, hoping to fill multiple lunch baskets to give to Home Sweet Home Ministries. To find a list of the foods they need, visit their website at http://www.hshministries.org/services/food-services/food-donations
Civic Engagement and the Arts