Oklahoma!

Previewed 6 July 1998, opened 15 July 1998, closed 3 October 1998 at National Theatre's Olivier Theatre
Transferred 20 January 1999, closed 26 June 1999 at the Lyceum Theatre in London

Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic musical Oklahoma! in London directed by Trevor Nunn.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1943 musical follows the rivalry of a cowboy, Curly, and a farm-hand called Jud who have both fallen for Laurey.

The cast for this production of Oklahoma! in London features Hugh Jackman as 'Curly', Josefina Gabrielle as 'Laurey', Shuler Hensley as 'Jud Fry', Maureen Lipman as 'Aunt Eller', Peter Polycarpou as 'Ali Hakim' and Jimmy Johnston as 'Will Parker'. Music by Richard Rodges and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, based on the play 'Green Grow the Lilies' by Lynn Riggs. Directed by Trevor nunn with choreography by Susan Stroman and designs by Anthony Ward.

The original production of Oklahoma! in London's West End, directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Harold Keel, opened at the Druay Lane Theatre on Wednesday 30 April 1947 and continued to play up to Saturday 27 May 1950, closing to make way for Rodgers and Hammerstein's new musical Carousel - Oklahoma! then transferred to the Stoll Theatre (now the rebuillt and much smaller Peacock Theatre) on Monday 29 May 1950 where it continued to pay for a further five months up to Saturday 21 October 1950. The first West End revival, directed by James Hammerstein and starring John Diedrich, was staged at the Palace Theatre where it previewed from Tuesday 16 September 1980, opened on Wednesday 17 September 1980 and closed on Saturday 19 September 1981. This production at the Lyceum Theatre is the show's second West End revival.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's other West End musicals include Carousel and The King and I. Richard Rodgers' West End musicals include, with Lorenz Hart, The Boys From Syracuse.

"In Trevor Nunn's production, Rodgers and Hammerstein's famous barn dance musical looks almost new-minted. It's brimming with unexpected joys and exquisite craftmanship. And, of course, songs only real men can sing. This version has skewered the naive outdoorsy romance of the show beautifully. Hugh Jackman makes the once-in-a-lifetime stage debut as a hugh-hearted thigh-slapping cowman Curly. Josefina Gabrielle is meltingly good too, as Laurey, the girl he will marry. There's high-grade comic support from Maureen Lipman as a gun-toting Aunt Eller and from Peter Polycarpou as the womanising peddler Ali Hakim, saddled with girls who can't say no... Go. You'll love it." The Daily Express

"The National Theatre's revival of Oklahoma! fully justifies the show's exclamation mark. From the moment Hugh Jackman strides on as Curly the cowhand, slaps his thigh and takes in Anthony Ward's picture-book version of the mid-West, we feel as optimistic as he does. A red sun has just risen against the backcloth and Jackman reckons: 'Oh, what a beautiful mornin'.' The rest of us are banking on a beautiful evenin'. We knew the music and lyrics would be good. But there's always a fear we should stay home and listen to Rodgers and Hammerstein on CD. Not this time: watching Trevor Nunn's revival amounts to three and a quarter hours of sheer pleasure... Susan Stroman's vibrant choreography injects an exuberant niftiness into the jigs, hops, leaps and skips. The dream sequence is a dazzling ironic close to Act One." The Independent on Sunday

"Director Trevor Nunn has very good material to work with. He has enhanced it by casting performers who really can sing and dance without losing continuity with situation and character....But what Nunn really brings to the production is his approach to the musical as a drama. This reveals itself, for instance, in Laurey and Curly's number People Will Say We're in Love. Hammerstein's swooningly romantic melody has been lushly replayed many times, but Rodgers's words are ironic, for the singers are saying the opposite of what they feel. Nunn makes the point by having it sung anti-romantically. Curly spits at one point, Laurey puts her fingers in her ears at another. It renews the song, and makes Laurey's tears on the reprise all the more effective." The Sunday Times

"Oklahoma! is the musical sensation of the year, a dynamic re-working of the 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein classic... From its stunning visual opening... to the rousing O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A finale, an encore in waiting if ever there was, Nunn's production is a triumph. The casting is superb... So is Susan Stroman's choreography, with the principals dancing brilliantly the set-piece ballet-normally specialist dancers take over for this dream sequence-and The Farmer And The Cowman second act opener almost stopping the show, even if Maureen Lipman, so good as Aunt Eller, looks more like a cockney pearly queen doing a knees-up than a square-dancing Western matriarch. Sell your saddle, your spurs, your horse and your gun for a ticket. Yes, sirree." The News of the World

"Oh, what a beautiful evening! Trevor Nunn's triumphant production of Oklahoma! is a revelation. The corn is high as an elephant's eye and it looks like it's climbing clear up to the sky in Anthony Ward's beautifully stylised set, but there's nothing corny about this wonderful, fresh show. It's not just a classic American musical but - and this is the real surprise - a truthful, touching and gripping drama about growing up and falling in love, about dreams and nightmares... The cast is outstanding, invariably investing the characters with a three-dimensionality rare in musicals... Like the songs, the dancing in this musical is an expression and extension of character and emotion, deepening the drama with every step. There's all the old-fashioned stuff you would expect, but done faster, higher, better - the barn dancing almost blows the roof off the theatre. But choreographer Susan Stroman breaks new ground in the nightmare ballet sequence in which Laurey's confusion, fear and excitement vividly emerge in a scene in a bordello and climax in an almost-rape. The National has an extraordinarily satisfying hit on its hands and you'd be mad to miss it." The Mail on Sunday

Oklahoma! in London at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre previewed from 6 July 1998, opened on 15 July 1998 and closed on 3 October 1998, transferred to the Lyceum Theatre from 20 January 1999, closed on 26 June 1999