The classic musical, presented by "Great Performances," will be seen in the metropolitan New York City area on WNET/Thirteen beginning at 8 PM ET. 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 Shuler Hensley as Jud Fry. Hensler later reprised his role as Jud in the Broadway production of Oklahoma!, earning a Tony Award for his performance.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! score includes such classics as "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.
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