Circle skirts will swirl during Payson High School’s performance of “Oklahoma!” which opens at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 16.
A matinee will follow on Friday, April 17 at 4 p.m., with the last performance on Saturday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s so much fun. It’s really upbeat,” said student Chelsea York, who plays Gertie, about the play.
“It’s a classic love story,” said technical director Thomas Walling, who also acts in the story.
The play takes place in pre-statehood Oklahoma, with two very different men courting a girl named Laurey, played by Kalie Anderson.
Curly, played by Seth Scott, is a free-spirited guy who loves life. Jud, played by Zach Horsley, is big, burly and creepy, said Walling.
This is the high school’s first “Oklahoma!” performance in recent memory. The play marked Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first collaboration. The duo went on to create other timeless titles like “The Sound of Music” and “Cinderella.”
Elaborate dance numbers enhanced by circle skirts that some students and “drama mamas” are sewing punctuate this play, said stage director Kathy Siler.
It also features upbeat songs, like “O What a Beautiful Morning,” with which Curly opens the show as stage lights create a sunrise. The cheerful song reflects the character’s personality, Walling said.
“When I first got (the part) I had no clue what I was doing,” said Scott, who plays Curly. Then he began delving into the commonalities between Curly and himself.
“It just became more and more exciting,” Scott said. “He loves living. He loves working. He’s totally free-spirited.”
“Seth, he really gets into his roles,” Walling said of the student’s intense character analysis.
The high school’s performances are entirely supported through ticket sales. At the door, tickets cost $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. For a $2 discount, purchase your tickets early at the Payson Public Library, Oasis Christian Bookstore and Re-Runs Resale Boutique.
Students have worked feverishly since February preparing during long evening rehearsals three times each week.
Community members and school teachers, including choreographer Kristi Ford, musical director Larry Potvin and the other adults and students who comprise the orchestra, stage director Siler, vocal director Steve Stevens, Walling, stage manager Amber Clark, and many others have worked tirelessly and volunteered their time for the performance.
“If it wasn’t for the adult directors willing to volunteer their time to enrich these students’ lives,” the play wouldn’t happen, Walling said.