The National Theatre’s 1998 Olivier-winning production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, starring Tony winner Hugh Jackman (The Music Man, Les Misérables, The Greatest Showman) as Curly, will be screened in cinemas around the world July 16 and 19.
More than 800 movie theatres in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Norway, and Australia will present the revival, which was filmed following the record-breaking London run. Tickets are on sale now at OklahomaInCinemas.com. Watch the trailer above.
Directed by Tony winner Trevor Nunn (Cats, Les Misérables) with new choreography by Tony winner Susan Stroman (New York, New York; The Producers; Crazy for You), the film also stars Maureen Lipman as Aunt Eller, Josefina Gabrielle as Laurie, Tony and Olivier winner Shuler Hensley (The Music Man) as Jud Fry, Vicki Simon as Ado Annie, Jimmy Johnston as Will Parker, and Peter Polycarpou as Ali Hakim. (Gabrielle and Hensley later repeated their roles on Broadway with Hensley winning a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. That production cast The Full Monty's Patrick Wilson in Jackman's role with Andrea Martin as Aunt Eller.)
The creative team includes set and costume designer Anthony Ward, lighting designer David Hersey, music director John Owen Edwards and orchestrator Robert Russell Bennett, with additional orchestrations by William David Brohn and new dance music arranged by David Krane.
The stage production transferred to London’s West End in 1999 and won four Olivier Awards, including Outstanding Musical Production.
Trafalgar Releasing, in partnership with Concord Originals and The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, will present the screenings, coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the musical's groundbreaking 1943 premiere.
Based on Lynn Riggs' Green Grow the Lilacs, Oklahoma! features music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics and a libretto by Oscar Hammerstein II. The classic score includes “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” and the title tune.
Oklahoma! was one of the first of many revivals of classic American musicals that Nunn produced as the then-artistic director of the National Theatre. The mounting was praised as a fresh rethinking of a classic; the interpretation's major shift with the past involved 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 work. In Stroman and Nunn's conception, the actors danced in the show's dream ballets, a break with the tradition of when a "Dream Laurey" and "Dream Curly" would be cast.
“The 80th anniversary of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! allows us to share this quintessential slice of Americana with global fans,” says Kymberli Frueh, senior vice-presidential of Content and Programming Acquisitions at Trafalgar Releasing. “This particular production is acknowledged as one of the best through the eight decades of performances in theatres around the world. All the talent in this classic version of Oklahoma! hit their mark brilliantly and musical theatre fans can experience for themselves why it is credited with launching Hugh Jackman’s stage career. We’re proud to be a part of this momentous anniversary”.
“80 years after first premiering on Broadway, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! is recognized as a theatrical landmark,” adds Imogen Lloyd Webber, senior vice-president at Concord Theatricals on behalf of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. “It was the first successful, truly unified musical – a seamless integration of song, story and dance. This 1998 production masterfully combined those three elements, and the resulting film is a treasure trove for musical theatre fans of all ages.”