NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Broadway at Bethel, an annual production featuring high school students, will bring a classic American musical, Oklahoma!, to the Krehbiel auditorium stage.
Structured as a music theater camp, talented students under the direction of Bethel College faculty, staff and alumni, stage and produce a major show in one week. Oklahoma! will be performed on Sunday, June 27 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 general admission and are available at Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center on the Bethel campus (open until 4 p.m. Friday, June 25; phone 316-284-5205) or, if tickets are left, Sunday at the door.
Oklahoma!, based on the stage play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs, was the first musical to bring together composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical opened on Broadway in 1941 and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances.
Songs from Oklahoma! include “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “The Surrey With the Fringe on Top” and “People Will Say We’re in Love.”
Set in the Oklahoma territory in 1906, the classic musical is the story of Laurey and the two rivals for her affections: Curly, a cowboy, and Jud, the hired farmhand. The fierce rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the drama’s colorful background.
Mycah Westhoff, Newton, will play the role of Laurey Williams. Dalton Zogleman, Clearwater, and Dalton Smith, Moundridge, will play the roles of Curly McLain and Jud Fry.
Other members of the production include Alex Coker, Topeka, as Aunt Eller; Brent Weaver, Hutchinson, as Ike Skidmore; Abe Sprunger Nouri, Harrisonburg, Va., as Fred; Riley King, Lawrence, as Slim; Christian Drake, Wichita, as Will Parker; Emily Luedtke, Sedgwick, as Ado Annie Carnes; Dane Soderquist, Chicago, Ill., as Ali Hakim; Sarah Hofkamp, Peabody, as Gertie Cummins; Jordan Claassen, Hesston, as Vivian; Hope Goertzen, Hesston, as Ellen; Caitlin Laird, Lawrence, as Kate; Paige Matacchiera, Andover, as Virgina; Allison Molitor, Kingman, Armina; Trent Jones, Hutchinson, as Andrew Carnes; Luke Loganbill, Moundridge, as Cord Elam; Brett Bussen, Wallace, as Mike; Beckett Bergstrom, Lawrence, as Joe; Alex Wells, Halstead, as Tom; and Kyle Houseman, Newton, as Jess.
Farmers, ranchers and dancers are Taylor Bailey, Ft Scott; Kate Brundrett, Shawnee; Emily Eilert, Wichita; Kellie Elmegreen, Haysville; Audrey Gleason, Shawnee; Maddie Goerend, Newton; Jake Hacker, Bucyrus; Erica Hernly, Lawrence; Sadie Jones, Hutchinson; Scott Lamb, Lawrence; Allison Miller, Leoti; Natalie Patterson-Goodwyn, Mulvane; Hillary Podrebarac, Lawrence; Chandra Rippe, Peabody; Shelby Schrag, Pretty Prairie; Garrett Smith, Burrton; Alex Taylor, Kechi; Keegan White, Shawnee; Molly Wiebe, Hillsboro; Levi Yoder, Piedmont, Calif.; and Javen Zellner, Marienthal.
The stage director is John McCabe-Juhnke, professor of communication arts, with technical direction by Megan Tyner, instructor of theater at Bethel College, and Toby Tyner, Bethel College assistant director of development. Cathy Crispino, director of choral music at Lawrence (Kan.) High School, is the music director; Annette Thornton, assistant professor and director of musical theater at Central Michigan University is the choreographer; and Rich Toevs, Newton, is the rehearsal accompanist. William Eash, Bethel professor of music, is the camp director.
Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges profiled in Colleges of Distinction 2009-10. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.