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Oklahoma! with Charlottesville Opera

July 29, 2017 - August 5, 2017

Oklahoma SquareMusic by RICHARD RODGERS
Based on the play “Green Grow the Lilacs” by Lynn Riggs
Original Dances by Agnes de Mille

Oklahoma! is a special collaboration between Charlottesville Opera and the Charlottesville Ballet, Charlottesville’s only professional dance company, to bring the musical’s rousing dance numbers to life. Set in the Wild West at the turn of the century, this charming and heartfelt musical portrays the rivalry between a small town’s farmers and cowboys, which is brought to a head by the romance between Laurey, an earnest farm girl, and Curly, a rugged cowboy.

Jennifer Zetlan (Metropolitan Opera), whom the New York Times described as “a radiant, agile voice and excellent control,” stars as the charming farm girl Laurey. Tenor Nathan Granner (Opera Theatre of St. Louis) plays her star-crossed lover, Curly.  Sharin Apostolou (Glimmerglass Festival) returns to Charlottesville Opera for a third consecutive year following her triumphant portrayals of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (2015) and Nellie Forbush in South Pacific (2016) as the flirtatious Ado Annie. Charlottesville Ballet is proud to include choreography by CB Artist Mary Hein, three professional soloists, and a student ensemble. Featuring beloved songs including “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” and “People Will Say We’re In Love,” this classic musical will delight adults and children alike.

Performances at The Paramount Theater

  • July 29, 2017 | 7:30PM
  • July 30, 2017 | 2:00PM
  • August 2, 2017 | 7:30PM
  • August 4, 2017 | 7:30PM
  • August 5, 2017 | 2:00PM

Get Tickets!

 To purchase tickets, call the Paramount Box Office at 434-979-1333, or click HERE for Summer Package Tickets and HERE for Full Series Tickets.

-CB PATRON PROMO CODE: use discount code “Ballet” for 10% Off Oklahoma ticket orders!



Oklahoma! was the first collaboration between composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, and was a smash hit when it premiered on Broadway in 1943. Set in the Wild West at the turn of the century, the charming musical portrays the rivalry between small town farmers and cowboys, which is brought to a head by the romance between an earnest farm girl named Laurey and a rugged cowboy named Curly. 
The original musical featured choreography by Agnes De Mille (who had just finished the highly-acclaimed Rodeo).  De Mille was commissioned by Rodgers and Hammerstein to create a Dream Ballet, which would enhance and develop the show’s story between the first and second acts; this feature became the benchmark for many a future musical.
“It was really a new way to show character development,” says Co-Director Emily Hartka, “without any dialogue, and in a very visceral way. The dream helps Laurey make up her mind about her love for Curly and sets the tone for the rest of the production.”

For this show, former Charlottesville Ballet dancer Mary Hein has been commissioned to return to Charlottesville and choreograph an updated version of the Dream Ballet using three professional dancers. Emily Hartka (Laurey), Shady Mohamed (Curly), and Toma Mori (Jud) will who serve as “body doubles” for the opera stars at the end of Act 1. “We’ll be referencing the original staging [of Agnes De Mille],” says Hein, “but modernizing the choreography and bringing the feeling of a real community with the singers and dancers together.”

Emily HartkaShady MohamedToma Mori

Hein will choreograph multiple dancing scenes throughout Oklahoma!, which include a children’s cast of twelve student dancers from Charlottesville Ballet Academy.  “Some of our young dancers have never even seen an opera,” says Hartka, “and they’ll be working alongside the opera stars, the ballet principals, the ensemble, and the full orchestra.” Oh what a beautiful day for Charlottesville!


July 29, 2017
August 5, 2017
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The Paramount
215 East Main Street
Charlottesville, VA 22901 United States
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