Drama students step back in time for their latest musical production
Drama students at a Doncaster school have gone back in time in more ways than one for their latest stage production.
Oklahoma! is set in the early 1900s and it is at least 30 years since Hayfield School staff and pupils performed the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
The show opened last night at the Auckley school hall and runs until Friday with a double cast appearing on alternate evenings.
Casting and rehearsals for Oklahoma! started last October under co-directors Jenny Lambert, head of drama, and Scott Martin, head of music, at Hayfield.
“The school has done Oklahoma! before but it was back in the 1970s just after Hayfield opened,” said Jenny, who reckons it is her 36th school production.
“Because this year is the school’s 40th anniversary we thought we’d go back to one of the early shows. It is the first time I’ve done it.”
The show has 25 cast members, 16 in the band, and 10 backstage workers, ranging in age from 12 to six-formers.
“We wanted a spread right across the school age group and because we are doubling up it means every part is played by two people.
“I am really pleased with them, they’re a fantastic cast who have worked really hard,” said Mrs Lambert.
Former music teacher Alan Cropley, who retired last year, has volunteered to come back and help with the musical side of the show because he still loves being involved, she added.
Set in Oklahoma Territory outside the town of Claremore in 1906, it tells the story of cowboy Curly McLain and his romance with farm girl Laurey Williams. A secondary romance concerns cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie, a friend of Laurey’s.
Among the well-known hits from the show are I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No and Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’, as well as the title song.
The musical was a smash hit when it opened on Broadway in 1943 and ran for more than 2,200 consecutive performances.
A recent National Theatre revival starred Maureen Lipman and Hugh Jackman.
Tickets are still available for the remaining evenings of the run.