PBS stations around the country will begin airing the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Nov 22. In the metropolitan area WNET/Thirteen will broadcast the landmark musical at 7 PM with an encore presentation at 11 PM. The WNET broadcast will feature chats with Shuler Hensley, who garnered both Olivier and Tony Awards for his performance as the ill fated Jud Fry. Hensley will appear during the second, third and fourth pledge-break intermissions; Mary Rodgers, daughter of the late Richard Rodgers, and Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization President Ted Chapin will be on hand for the first intermission.
Hugh Jackman stars as Curly in the production, which was filmed during his run in the musical in London. Directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Susan Stroman, the Royal National Theatre production of Oklahoma! won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical as well as the Best Musical Evening Standard and Critics Circle awards. The West End cast also included Maureen Lipman as Aunt Eller, Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey and the aforementioned Shuler Hensley as Jud Fry. Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! score includes "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," "The Surrey with the Fringe On Top," "I Cain't Say No," "People Will Say We're in Love" and "Oklahoma."
Oklahoma! was one of the first of many splashy revivals of classic American musicals that Nunn produced as the artistic director of the National Theatre. The mounting was praised as a fresh rethinking of a show which had over the years become a museum piece. The interpretation's most startling shift with the past involved Susan Stroman's choreography. Stroman was hired with the understanding that she would redesign the famed Act One ballet sequence from the ground up, eschewing Agnes DeMille's famous footwork. In Stroman and Nunn's conception, the actors dance in the show's dream ballets, a break with the tradition of when a "Dream Laurey" and "Dream Curly" would be cast.
A DVD of the Jackman Oklahoma! was released Nov. 18 by Imagine Entertainment. The title has also been expanded to a two-disc set. The first disc features a widescreen format and the second disc includes a "Making of" feature.