MCP staging lively production of ‘Oklahoma!’ at Cumston Hall

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MONMOUTH — A rollicking Monmouth Community Players’ production of “Oklahoma!” will light up the Cumston Hall stage for two weekends beginning Friday, April 21.

Under the direction of Josie French, a cast of more than 30 veterans and newcomers perform the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. From the opening notes of “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” this show promises great music, colorful dances and all the dramatic elements that made this play a ground-breaker for American musical theatre in the 1940s.
“We have some fantastic talent for this production,” French said.
The small stage is no problem, French added. Big musical numbers overflow right up and down the aisles.
The major ensemble number is “The Farmer and the Cowhand,” which opens Act Two. “The guys are so much fun to watch,” French said.
Joshua Oakes of Lewiston plays the lead male role of Curly, a cowboy who courts farm girl Laurey Williams, played by Sarah Flagg of Westbrook. Laurey’s headstrong Aunt Eller will be played by Carol Griffiths. Jud Fry, her tragically misunderstood farm hand who also desires Laurey’s affection, will be played by John Lipovsky.
A second comic love triangle is added to the mix with Ado Annie Carnes (Megan Record of Monmouth), her betrothed, Will Parker (Danny Gay of Westbrook), and a traveling peddler, Ali Hakim (Bill McLean). Ado Annie’s gun-toting father, Andrew Carnes, will be played by Henry Quintal. Karen Lipovsky of Monmouth has the role of Gertie Cummings, a rich, snobby local gal.
French said casting takes a few unexpected twists. Veteran Henry Quintal has been in numerous dramatic roles in the area, but this is his first musical role.
Karen Lipovsky’s vocal talents are well known, but it’s an entirely different role for her as giddy Gertie, which showcases a comic high-pitched laugh. French said Lipovsky could do that laugh like no one else at auditions.
John Neal of Greene is musical director. He leads a six-piece orchestra.
The show is choreographed by Melissa Guimond of Auburn. Cindy Dunham of Winthrop is musical producer.
Among the familiar songs that have become American classics are “People Will Say We’re in Love,” “Surrey With the Fringe on Top,” “Kansas City,” “Many a New Day,” “I Cain’t Say No,” “All Er Nothin,” and the rousing finale, “Oklahoma!”
French said the ballet, “Out of My Dreams,” will also be performed.
The production is rounded out by a talented group of singers and dancers from the area. They include Dan Allard as Ike Skidmore, Joshua Allard as Little Billy Skidmore, Bre Allard as Virginia Cummings, Tim MacLeod as Cord Elam, Shane Stevens as Fred Cummings and Jane Mitchell as Elizabeth McLain, all of Greene; Meredith Crawford as Ellen  Parker from Auburn; Brianna Hull as Nellie Skidmore, Nancy Kenneally as Winnifred Cummings and Charlotte Morin as Vivian Cummings, all of Lewiston; Michael Dolan as Slim Williams, Jasper Williams as J.T. Elam and Carol Griffiths as Grace Parker, all of Monmouth; Samantha Dupuis as Kate McLain, Sylvia Ryan as Aggie Elam, Ginger Smith as Mabel Carnes and Cindy Dunham as Ethel Elam, all of Winthrop; Andy Tolman as Mike Cummings and Elaine Katz as Harriet Skidmore, both of Readfield; and Alexa Gallant as Sylvie Carnes and Maya Veilleux as Armina Elam, both of Augusta.
Performances of “Oklahoma!” are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, April 21, and 22, and April 28, and 29. Sunday shows are at 2 p.m. April 23, and 30.
Tickets are $14 for General Admission and $12 for Students and seniors.
More information can be found on MCP’s Web site at www.monmouthcommunityplayers.org, or by calling 800-838-3006.

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A scene from Monmouth Community Players’ production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s energetic “Oklahoma!” set to open Friday, April 21, at Cumston Hall.

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