“The Surrey With the Fringe on Top”

A behind the scenes look with the cast and crew of the upcoming musical Oklahoma!

“Oklahoma is the place to be…in that shiny little surrey with the fringe on top” (Gordan MacRae, “The Surrey With the Fringe on Top). The new orchestra pit will swell with music, dancing and singing will commence, and the curtain will rise transporting the audience to 1906 Oklahoma. Opening at the Performing Arts Center Nov. 18, 2021, Oklahoma! was chosen as the fall play.

“This will be the first really large musical that we’re doing in the PAC, and we really wanted something that would be fun to celebrate our new space,” Director Katherine Gehrlein said.

I normally have played more comedic or childlike characters just because of my stature, so getting the chance to play someone who has power to her, I think that’s what’s most interesting to me.”

— Junior Madeline Belcher (Laurie Williams)

Oklahoma tells the story of Laurie Williams (Madeline Belcher) and the love triangle that she’s in alongside Culry Mcklain (Patrick Sheeley) and Jud Fry (Jonah Lively). It takes place in Claremore, Indian Territory in 1906 and is a mixture of romance and danger.

For junior Madeline Belcher, it’s provided her the opportunity to play a character that’s unique to her repertoire.

“I normally have played more comedic or childlike characters just because of my stature, so getting the chance to play someone who has power to her, I think that’s what’s most interesting to me,” Belcher said.

While some of the students are excited about what the upcoming musical has to offer, others are braced for the pressure that comes from tryouts and production.

Since Oklahoma! will be the first in-person performance since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, there is an element of expectancy for both the cast and crew. Shows during the 2020-2021 school year were filmed live for viewers to enjoy from the comfort of their homes. Due to the mask mandate, performers wore clear face masks to showcase their expressions while continuing to protect each other. Although much has changed, rehearsals have not been affected by the new schedule changes.

Photo by Emma McDonald

“I’m excited to have an actual show where it’s publicized and everyone knows about it. And we can have an audience and people perform onstage openly and be able to celebrate what we all love to do together,” senior Kennedy Naseem said.

Tickets for Oklahoma! will go on sale Oct. 11 for the Nov. 18-20 shows here. They are $5 for students, LPS employees, seniors, and children; adults pay $10.