Grand Lake: Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre opens first play of season |

Grand Lake: Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre opens first play of season

After 26 years, Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre is producing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved classic musical “Oklahoma!” Curtains open tonight in Grand Lake. Show sponsors for “Oklahoma!” are the Steve and Marti Baltz family, with an opening-night party scheduled afterward at the Bears Den.

“While a lot has changed for the musical theatre in those 26 years, it is irrefutable that ‘Oklahoma!’ remains a part of the history we can’t and don’t want to forget,” said Jeff Duke, director of this season’s performance. “I have been struck by so many elements that made it a classic. The gorgeous melodies, the iconic characters and the lasting images of the American frontier backdrop have stayed with me. This musical is history in every sense of the word ” the history of the American frontier, the history of musical theatre, and each individual viewer and performer’s personal history with the show.”

The play is set in a Western Indian territory just after the turn of the century and

musically recounts the high-spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys. It provides a colorful background against which handsome cowboy Curly and “winsome” farm girl Laurey play out their love story. “Although the road to true love never runs smooth, with these two headstrong romantics holding the reins, love’s journey is as bumpy as a surrey ride down a country road,” said RMRT Managing Director Chad Scott. “That they will succeed in making a new life together we have no doubt, and that this new life will begin in a brand-new state provides the ultimate climax to the triumphant ‘Oklahoma!’.”

Elizabeth Lanza (who played Gertrude McFuzz in last year’s “Seussical”) returns for her third year with RMRT to play “female ingenue” Laurey, alongside RMRT newcomer Sam Prince as Curly. Standing in the way of their love affair is the mysterious Jud Fry, played by Randy Scholz.

Comic “Oklahoma!” love duo Ado Annie, played by second-year RMRT veteran Mallory Good (Rusty in 2007’s “Footloose”) and Will Parker, portrayed by another RMRT newbie Steven Pierce, also “provide charming and hilarious courting hi-jinx,” Scott said. On their bumpy road to love stands Persian peddler Ali Hakim, played by popular RMRT favorite Peter Durkin, who sparks Ado Annie’s interest.

The opening night for “Oklahoma!” is already sold out and patrons are encouraged to secure their seats as soon as possible. Artistic Director Michael Querio (who is also the music director for the play) once again leads the artistic team that, after three seasons, is selling 96 percent of the available seats and turning away approximately 68 individuals per day at the box office.

Duke, artistic associate, returns for his eighth directed show for RMRT. Jesus Perez, who was named the Denver Post Ovation Award winner for his costume design in “Beauty and the Beast” is back for his fourth summer as resident costume designer.

New to RMRT are Choreographer Matt Raftery, Scenic Designer Glen Anderson and Lighting Designer Kent Barrett. “This outstanding team, coupled with the other familiar faces of RMRT, Executive Director Carol Wolff, Company Manager/Youth Theatre Administrator Sally Scott, and the highly dedicated 25-member Board of Trustees and advisory board led by President Judy Jensen, all comprise another guaranteed outstanding season for Grand County theatre lovers,” Chad said.

Performances of “Oklahoma!” intertwine with two other summer shows: the comedy epic “Urinetown” opening June 20, and the regional premiere of “Big: The Musical” which opens July 5. Following Friday night’s opening performance of “Oklahoma!,” shows are scheduled June 14, 23, 24, 26, 28 and 29; July 1, 3, 9, 14, 17, 22, 25 and 31; and Aug. 6, 11 and 15. Most shows begin at 8 p.m., with 6 p.m. shows on Sundays and Mondays.

To reserve your seats today for RMRT’s record-breaking 40th season, call (970) 627-3421.

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