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It's the musical of all musicals

Timeless love story of Oklahoma! returns to new westminster

Winter's over and in New Westminster, there's music in the air.

Royal City Musical Theatre is putting on Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! for its annual show on the Massey Theatre stage this spring, from April 11 to 27.

The "musical of musicals" turns 70 this year, and the show's famous musical numbers - Oh What a Beautiful Morning, The Surrey with the Fringe on Top, Many a New Day, People will Say We're In Love and of course, Oklahoma! - will be reprised in all their glory, with a full orchestra and ensemble dance numbers.

"There's a reason it's endured - it's a really good show," said New Westminster actor, Sayer Roberts, who plays Curly, the lead male role.

The original Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical masterpiece - opened in 1943 - was a box-office smash that ran for an unprecedented 2,243 performances, and was made into an Academy Award-winning film in 1955, according to a press release from the musical theatre company.

"The script is really well written and the story is timeless," said artistic director Valerie Easton. "It's a lovely love story, but the thing that made Oklahoma! stand out from the rest of the musicals before its time was the fact that it had a serious plotline and the songs were made part of the play."

Based on a play called Green Grow the Lilacs, by Lynn Riggs, the story centres on the rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys in the Old West, which provides the colourful background against which Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a winsome farm girl, play out their love story.

"It's great. Curly's just such a great guy in the show," said Roberts. "You know, he's usually in a good mood, happy to see people, happy to help out. Just having a great time with people. And then he's able to get down to business . and do what needs to be done. It's a great character to play."

Roberts' last performance with Royal City Musical Theatre was in the company's 2012 production of Hello, Dolly!, also at Massey Theatre.

Knowing many of the cast members from that show has been a boon for the rehearsal process, he noted.

"It's really helpful to have this many people dedicated to coming back to RCMT," he said.

The 44-member cast includes Quinn Cartwright as Laurey, Sandra Head as Aunt Eller and Brennan Cuff as Will Parker.

The show is directed and choreographed by Easton, with musical direction by James Bryson, costumes by Chris Sinosich, lighting by Gerald King and set design by Omanie Elias.

Preview shows will be held April 11 and 12, and the show runs April 13 to 27, with showtimes at 8 p.m., and 2 p.m. matinées on Saturdays and Sundays.

Tickets range from $20 to $40, with special rates for seniors and students, available at www. or by calling 604-521-5050.

Family Round Up Day is Sunday, April 14, with a 2 p.m. show with special prices - buy two adults tickets and get two child or senior tickets free.

The Massey Theatre is located at 735 Eighth Ave.

For more information visit www.royalcitymusicaltheatre. com.

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