NETworks Tour of Oklahoma! Begins Dec. 16 in Denver, Travels Into 2004 | Playbill

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News NETworks Tour of Oklahoma! Begins Dec. 16 in Denver, Travels Into 2004 A beautiful mornin' dawns again Dec. 16 when the new non-Equity national tour of Oklahoma!, inspired by the Royal National Theatre-Cameron Mackintosh production seen in London and on Broadway, launches at the Buell Theatre in Denver.
Brandon Andrus as Curly in the national tour of Oklahoma! Photo by Joan Marcus

The production is directed by Fred Hanson and choreographed by Ginger Thatcher, who adapt producer Mackintosh's productions created by Trevor Nunn and Susan Stroman. TV audiences have been getting a taste of the show with airings of the London staging on PBS in recent weeks. Hugh Jackman starred in the London run.

Tour producer Ken Gentry/NETworks announced bookings through August 2004, with additional cities being booked into the 2004-02 season. The Denver leg lasts to Jan. 4, 2004. Opening is Dec. 18.

The tour will retain the West End and Broadway set and costume design by Anthony Ward and lighting by David Hersey.

The musical was a London sensation for its gritty approach, offering the characters as hardscrabble pioneer folk rather than cute musical-comedy cutouts. The 1943 musical by Rodgers & Hammerstein is a watershed show that integrated book, music, lyrics and dance like never before in theatre history.

After its London revival run in starting in 1999, a run on Broadway was shorter than expected, starting in the 2001-02 season. Patrick Wilson played Curly in New York. The starless tour cast will be made up of non-Equity performers who, like their Equity counterparts in the Mackintosh precedents, will dance their own ballet material (the traditional "Dream Laurey" and "Dream Curly" — dancers representing the musical comedy characters — were merged in the Nunn-Stroman conception).

The cast of Oklahoma! features Brandon Andrus as Curly, Amanda Rose as Laurey, Pat Sibley as Aunt Eller, Tom Lucca as Jud, Sarah Shahinian as Ado Annie, Daniel Robinson as Will Parker, Colin Trahan as Ali Hakim, Gordon Gray as Andrew Carnes and Thomas Hallett as Ike Skidmore, with Nicole Andoga, Mike Cali, Molly Esposito, Amanda Flynn, Jonathan Grant, Scott Harrison, David C. Jennings, Andrea Leigh, Carrie Love, Stephanie Martignetti, Harriet McClure (as Gertie Cummings), Patti McClure, Jerry Miceli, M. Erik Michelsen, Deven Marie Miller, Matthew Terrence Neff, Christopher Newell, Rich Roedersheimer (as Cord Elam), Benjamin J. Sills, Deven Walker, Bruce Warren, Brandi Wooten, Alicia Zeile and J. Michael Zygo.


Gentry previously told Playbill On-Line that talks with Equity to make the show union didn't pan out. Cameron Mackintosh spoke about Equity and non-Equity casting in a recent Playbill On-Line Brief Encounter interview.


Director Hanson has staged the national tours of Miss Saigon and the Lincoln Center Theater production of Carousel. He served as associate director to Nicholas Hytner on the Broadway productions of both shows, and directed Miss Saigon at the St. Louis Muny. He was on the production staff of Cameron Mackintosh, Inc. for more than 10 years, supervising productions of Oklahoma!, Miss Saigon and The Phantom of the Opera, and worked on the original Broadway production of Les Misérables. He worked on the following Broadway productions and national tours: Execution of Justice, Zorba, Agnes of God, 42nd Street and Evita. He first worked on the production staff of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the San Francisco Opera.

Choreographer Ginger Thatcher worked on The Red Shoes, Carousel, Big, Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame (Berlin), as well as with American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of Canada (Othello, A Brahams' Symphony, The Red Shoes).

The NETworks national tour of Oklahoma! will visit over 25 cities in 2004 including Atlanta, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Detroit, New Orleans, Boston, Costa Mesa, CA, and Houston.

The schedule includes:

  • Denver's Buell Theatre Dec. 16, 2003-Jan. 4, 2004
  • Minneapolis's Orpheum Theatre Jan. 6-11, 2004
  • Appleton, WI's Fox Cities PAC Jan. 13-18, 2004
  • Atlanta's Fox Theatre Jan. 20-25, 2004
  • Nashville's Tennessee PAC Jan. 27-Feb. 1, 2004
  • San Antonio's Majestic Theatre Feb. 3-8, 2004
  • Portland, OR's Keller Auditorium Feb. 17-22, 2004
  • Salt Lake City's Capitol Theatre Feb. 24-29, 2004
  • Seattle's Paramount Theatre March 2-7, 2004
  • Wallingford, CT's Oakdale Theatre March 23-28, 2004
  • Columbus, OH's Ohio Theatre March 30-April 4, 2004
  • Philadelphia's Merriam Theatre April 6-11, 2004
  • Cincinnati's Aronoff Theatre April 13-25, 2004
  • Norfolk's Chrysler Auditorium April 27-May 2, 2004
  • Detroit's Fox Theatre May 4-9, 2004
  • New Orleans's Saenger Theatre May 11-16, 2004
  • Buffalo's Shea PAC May 18-23, 2004
  • Boston's Colonial Theatre May 25-June 6, 2004
  • Tempe, AZ's Gammage Auditorium June 8-13, 2004
  • Costa Mesa, CA's Orange County PAC June 15-20, 2004
  • Houston's Hobby Center July 6-18, 2004
  • Chicago's Oriental Theatre July 20-Aug. 1, 2004
  • Milwaukee's Marcus Center Aug. 3-8, 2004 *

    The Buell in Denver was also the launchpad for the NETworks non-Equity tour of Mackintosh's Oliver!, in November.

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    Brandon Andrus as Curly and Amanda Rose as Laurey in the national tour of Oklahoma! Photo by Joan Marcus
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