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April 1, 2011/FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        
Media Contacts:
Steve Bumgarner, Capture Public Relations & Marketing
336-722-9660, steve@capturevalue.com   

UNCSA TO PRESENT ALL-SCHOOL PRODUCTION OF
RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA!

Show Opens This Month!

Directed by Terrence Mann
Musical Direction by John Mauceri


WINSTON-SALEM – The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) will present an all-school production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! beginning this month. This faithful restaging of the original 1943 Broadway production will open at UNCSA’s Roger L. Stevens Center in downtown Winston-Salem on April 28, 2011, and will continue through May 8. A special Gala Benefit performance will be presented on Friday, April 29. Proceeds from the production and the Gala will benefit all five arts schools at UNCSA.

When Oklahoma! opened on Broadway in 1943, it transformed musical theatre with its innovative integration of words, music, dance and design. UNCSA’s restaging will include the original Agnes de Mille choreography as re-created by Gemze de Lappe, a renowned dancer and teacher who performed in the original Broadway and touring productions of Oklahoma! and worked closely with de Mille for many years. In addition, UNCSA has extensively researched all aspects of the original production and will painstakingly recreate the original costumes and stage design.

“An archival restoration of all the production elements of Oklahoma! will give our students and our audiences a chance to experience the first American musical to have a single artistic goal in telling its story through music, drama, dance and scenery, elevating the genre into a great collaborative art form, not a medium for separate songs and dances,” said John Mauceri, Chancellor of UNCSA and Musical Director for Oklahoma! “It is our hope that by experiencing this collaboration, one that will include the exact number of musicians in the pit and a newly restored score, as well as the supervision of Gemze de Lappe, our students will be inspired to conclude that true collaboration at the service of great material, honestly presented and deeply felt, is what we aspire to do and is as viable as anything using the most advanced technologies of our time.”

Theodore Chapin, President and Executive Director of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, said, “For John Mauceri to conceive the idea of an Oklahoma! as close to exactly how it was when it opened may seem like a simple idea, but no one has had it before. It is sure to add an invaluable piece to both the historic and performance history of a musical that has long been acknowledged as the one that galvanized an entertainment genre into an American art form.”

Oklahoma! will be directed by Terrence Mann, a UNCSA alumnus (he graduated from the School of Drama in 1978 with a B.F.A. in Acting) and a prominent actor, singer, dancer and director. Mann made his Broadway debut in 1982 in the Tony Award-winning musical Barnum. His true breakthrough performance was in the original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, where he created the memorable lead role of Rum Tum Tugger. Mann has appeared in numerous other Broadway shows including Tony Award-nominated roles as the original Inspector Javert in Les Misérables and the original Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. In addition, he has appeared in The Addams Family (2010), Lennon (2005), the Broadway Revival of The Rocky Horror Show (2000), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1997), Getting Away with Murder (1996), Assassins (1991), Jerome Robbins' Broadway (1989) and Rags (1986). Mann also has appeared on television and in movies. Earlier in his career, Mann played “Old Tom” in Paul Green’s outdoor drama The Lost Colony and later returned to direct the show for four seasons. He served as Artistic Director of North Carolina Theatre in Raleigh for 10 years. He helped create the Carolina Arts Festival and was its artistic director for four years. His musical Romeo and Juliet has been performed at the Goodspeed Opera House, The Ordway in Minneapolis and a special high school presentation in Raleigh. Mann is currently the distinguished professor of musical theatre at Western Carolina University (WCU) in Cullowhee, N.C., and conducts The Triple Arts Broadway Series in the summer at WCU.

“Terrence Mann is one of UNCSA’s most accomplished alumni. He was, in fact, the Dean of the School of Drama Gerald Freedman’s first choice as a director for our all-school production of Brigadoon, 15 years ago, but scheduling conflicts made that impossible,” said Chancellor Mauceri. “Terry comes back to us after so many successes as a professional actor and director, and we could not be happier having him as the director for our Oklahoma!. I know all our young artists will gain mightily from his vast experience in the professional theatre, his enormous talent as a creative artist and his personal warmth as a human being.”

Musical Director for Oklahoma! will be internationally renowned conductor John Mauceri, Chancellor of UNCSA. Mauceri’s distinguished and extraordinarily varied career has brought him not only to the world’s greatest opera companies and symphony orchestras, but also to the musical stages of Broadway and Hollywood, as well as the most prestigious halls of academia. A recipient of a Tony, an Outer Critics’ Circle Award, a Drama Desk and two Emmy Awards, Mauceri has worked closely with the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization on numerous projects including the first-ever recording of all the Overtures from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals (“Opening Night: The Complete Overtures”) as well as a restoration of the film score from The King and I, featuring Julie Andrews and Ben Kingsley, which received the Deutsche Schallplatten Prize in 1993. He was Music Director and Musical Supervisor of three Broadway musicals: Candide (1973), On Your Toes (1983) and Song and Dance (1985).

UNCSA faculty from the School of Design & Production are working from archival photography, extant designs, published records and the supervisory input of the legendary Gemze de Lappe, who danced in the original national tour (1943), the original Broadway production (during its run, in 1946), the replication of the original production for London’s Drury Lane Theatre (1947), the Australian premiere (1948) and the subsequent European production in the early 1950s. She was frequently called upon to teach and train the actors and the singers in the various productions seen throughout the world. All the scenic designs of Lemuel Ayers are under the supervision of UNCSA faculty member Howard Jones, and already have been painted and built on campus by the students. The 110 costumes designs of Miles White have been recreated by UNCSA faculty member Bill Brewer, along with Christine Turbitt. The fabrics have been bought and many are being dyed and appliquéd to represent the brilliantly colored and varied textures of the 1943 production and its various replications. Every costume is being built from newly recreated patterns and by the students.

“Miles White is generally considered the father of Broadway costume design,” Chancellor Mauceri said. “We were amazed to find the original swatch book at the Museum of the City of New York and, together with some very creative sleuthing and the very precise memories of Gemze de Lappe, the public will experience something quite astonishing and brilliant. In addition, Lemuel Ayers brought a sensibility of the WPA artists and the folk art of Grandma Moses, as well as the turbulence of dust bowl artist, Alexander Hogue and the sweep of regionalists, Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood. Together with Agnes de Mille’s choreography, the scenic and costume designs continued and expanded the story being told by Hammerstein’s words and Rodgers music, as if one person had created the production.”

The cast for Oklahoma! is drawn from the students at UNCSA, America’s first public arts conservatory. The mission of the school is to train young people to become professional artists. Alumni from UNCSA can be found throughout the professional world, on Broadway, in Hollywood, at the greatest opera houses and ballet and dance companies, and as designers and managers in virtually every field of the performing arts.

Complete Quotation from Theodore Chapin, President of R & H Organization.  9/28/10

“There is no better person to spearhead this unique production of OKLAHOMA! than John Mauceri.  From my first days here at Rodgers & Hammerstein, John has been a tireless pioneer in the American Musical Theater, bringing his extraordinary musicianship to a world that at the time, hadn't really begun to get the artistic recognition it deserved.  But one step at a time, John has been at the forefront of the movement, starting with the Broadway revival of ON YOUR TOES  in 1983 (that was his idea), through his years at the Hollywood Bowl where he created the most imaginative programs blending musical theater (sometimes concert versions of entire shows) with music from the American repertoire (who else would have thought to play "Victory At Sea" as a prelude to a segment from SOUTH PACIFIC placing the audience in the proper aquatic geography?)  He garnered the trust of the Rodgers and Hammerstein family along the way, prompting the first-ever recording of all the Overtures from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals - still one of my all-time favorite albums.  For him to conceive the idea of an OKLAHOMA! as close to exactly how it was then, may seem like a simple idea, but no one has had it before.  It is sure to add an invaluable piece to both the historic and performance history of a musical that has long been acknowledged as the one that galvanized an entertainment genre into an American art form.”      

The full performance schedule for Oklahoma! is:  April 28, 8 p.m.; April 29, 7:30 p.m.; April 30, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; May 1, 2 p.m.; May 4-6, 8 p.m.; May 7, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; May 8, 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the UNCSA Box Office by calling 336.721.1945, or online at www.uncsa.edu/performances.

The April 29 gala is almost sold out, but tickets are still available to the hottest party in town: the Downtown Hoedown (the gala after-party)! For ticket information, call the UNCSA Box Office at 336-721-1945, or visit online at www.uncsa.edu/hoedown.

Ticket prices are: Prime Orchestra, $100; Orchestra Center, $63 for adults and $49 for children 13 and under; Orchestra Sides and Front Balcony, $54 for adults and $40 for children 13 and under; Rear Orchestra and Rear Balcony, $43 for adults and $30 for children 13 and under. For the best deal in town take advantage of the great prices on Oklahoma! “Family Four Pack” (2 adults and 2 children) for the evening performances on Wednesday, May 4, and Thursday, May 5, only: $150 for Orchestra Side/Front Balcony and $110 for Rear Balcony. Please note that the ARTSCARD cannot be used for Oklahoma! Groups of 10 or more receive a 10% discount on every full-priced ticket. The 10% discount for groups may not be combined with any other offer.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. UNCSA is located at 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.

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