PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes at Arena Stage's Hit Oklahoma! With Nehal Joshi and Aaron Ramey

News   PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes at Arena Stage's Hit Oklahoma! With Nehal Joshi and Aaron Ramey
Musical theatre favorites Nehal Joshi and Aaron Ramey, who star in Arena Stage's acclaimed in-the-round production of Oklahoma!, offer an exclusive look at the show and its fun-loving cast and crew.

Joshi (Les Misérables, Falling for Eve) and Ramey (Curtains) play peddler Ali Hakim and sinister farm hand Jud Fry, respectively. readers are invited to meet the company, watch the Fight Call, tour backstage, learn how a hat-stretcher works and witness the "planking" craze in action (plus a special guest appearance from Erin Davie, who recently appeared in Arena Stage's premiere of A Time to Kill.)

Here is a day at Oklahoma! with Nehal Joshi, Aaron Ramey and cast:


Following a sold-out run that inaugurated Arena's new multimillion dollar Mead Center for American Theater last fall, Arena Stage's in-the-round production of Oklahoma! returned for seconds starting July 8. The principal cast of artistic director Molly Smith's staging reunites for an encore run through Oct. 2 in Washington, DC. The Rodgers & Hammerstein classic about optimistic folk in American Indian territory just before statehood got positive reviews (and broke all box-office records from Arena Stage's 60-year history). The groundbreaking musical is based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs, and has music by Richard Rodgers, and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Smith's incarnation blends a multicultural cast to tell the story of two romances — Laurey and Curly (threatened by Jud Fry), and Will and Ado Annie (threatened by Ali Hakim).

Nicholas Rodriguez (Broadway’s Tarzan, Arena's The Light in the Piazza) returns as Curly along with Eleasha Gamble (Arena Stage's The Women of Brewster Place, Signature's Chess) as Laurey, plus E. Faye Butler (Arena Stage's Crowns, Ain't Misbehavin') as Aunt Eller; Aaron Ramey (Broadway's Curtains, Thoroughly Modern Millie) as Jud Fry; Cody Williams as Will Parker; June Schreiner as Ado Annie; and Nehal Joshi (Broadway's Les Misérables) as peddler Ali Hakim.

The cast also includes Emilee Dupré (Vivian), Lucas Fedele (Ike Skidmore), Andrew Hodge (Slim), Cara Massey (Gertie Cummings), Hugh Nees (Andrew Carnes), Cyana Paolantonio (Ellen), Annie Petersmeyer (Virginia), Kristyn Pope (Aggie), Alvon Reed (Jess), Shane Rhoades (Fred), Vincent Rodriguez III (Sam), Kyle Vaughn (Mike/Dream Curly), Hollie E. Wright (Sylvie/Dream Laurey), Jessica Wu (Kate), Jessica Hartman (Female Swing) and Aaron Umsted (Male Swing).

The score includes "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin'," "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top," "People Will Say We're in Love," "Many a New Day," "Kansas City" and the title song. The 1943 show famously solidified the then-long-brewing notion of integrating book, music, lyrics, dance and design in service of a psychologically sound "musical play" rather than sketch-like "musical comedy."

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