Manitoulin Secondary School goes country for production of Oklahoma!

MANITOULIN—Auditions have been held, parts cast and rehearsals are underway for Manitoulin Secondary School’s (MSS) newest production, Oklahoma!

“Oklahoma! is a big spectacular production,” MSS drama teacher and production director Tom Scott told The Expositor on Monday. “We wanted something big and it’s a timeless story. We have a 30 plus cast, including several students from Island elementary schools, and rehearsals are going really well. The students are doing great—they are quite impressive already.”

Music director Chris Theijsmeijer explained that the production was selected by a committee of teachers.

“We all take on various roles for productions from music, costumes to set design etc.,” said Mr. Theijsmeijer. “We looked at Oklahoma! because it is a fun show and it seemed to fit the set of students we had this year. Some of the teachers had done the production before with success and it is one of the big classics.”

Mr. Theijsmeijer said that casting begin in October, with the first rehearsal at the end of October.

“The students are really enjoying themselves and it’s going well,” added Mr. Theijsmeijer. “The country music is fun for them and the melodies are simpler, but some of the harmonies are more challenging (than past productions). This is the biggest production we have done in recent years and we are thrilled.”

In addition to the cast, Mr. Theijsmeijer is leading a 12-person band composed of half students and half adult musicians.

Oklahoma! was written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, based on Lynn Riggs’ 1931 play, ‘Green Grow the Lilacs.’

Set in Oklahoma, outside the town of Clarmore in 1906, the musical tells the story of Cowboy McLain (played by Max Chapman) and his romance with Laurey Williams (Lacey Fownes) and cowboy Will Parker (Brad Sayyae) and his fiancée Ado Annie (Taylor Van Horn).

Other leads include Jessica Jordison as Aunt Eller, James Scott as Jud Fry and Cody Crawford as Ali Hakim.

MSS’ production of Oklahoma! will run Thursday, February 12, 13 and 14, 2015. Times and ticket information will be available in the New Year.