Black Swan State Theatre Company has announced that actor Emily Havea (Wentworth, Harrow, The Secrets She Keeps) has been cast as cowman Curly McLain in their forthcoming production of Oklahoma! on the Heath Ledger Theatre stage from Saturday 28 November 2020.
Acclaimed Director Richard Carroll (Calamity Jane, Once, The Show Goes On) was pleased that the estate of Rodgers and Hammerstein agreed to the cross-gender casting. He added that he has “watched Emily Havea be incredible and totally original in several plays and on television, and I’m so excited to now be working with her on Oklahoma!” he said.
“Having a female actor play Curly brings so many new and fascinating complexities to the show, especially the complications and dangers of the ‘love triangle’ between Laurey, Curly and Jud. Emily is part of a dream cast and creative team, and I can’t wait to bring this version of Oklahoma! to the stage,” said Carroll.
The glorious songs of Oklahoma! were written in the style of American folk music and have become almost folk songs themselves. In this production, Black Swan are delighted and proud to present the music in the style of its bluegrass, country, square-dance roots, and for WA audiences to enjoy a 360° experience in the round right in the heart of the action on the Heath Ledger Theatre stage.
Enter the Oklahoma territory of 1906, beyond the western reaches of the federated United States. Shotgun rides, shotgun weddings, and shotgun justice. No local government, no electricity, no motor cars.
Tensions simmer between the cowmen who have long worked the territory, and the increasing number of eastern farmers staking new claims to land which disrupts the cowmen’s trade. Meanwhile, farm girl Laurey works to maintain her independence while being courted by both Curly and Jud – two very different kinds of suitor.
Joining Emily will be eight accomplished and versatile actors and a bluegrass quartet led by renowned Musical Director Victoria Falconer. The cast includes veteran actors Caroline McKenzie as Aunt Eller, Luke Hewitt as Andrew Carnes, Laila Bano-Rind as Ado Annie and Stefanie Caccamo as Laurey.
Andy Cook plays Jud Fry, Cameron Taylor as Ali Hakim, together with recent WAAPA graduates Sara Reed as Dream Laurey and Axel Duffy as Will Parker, make their professional debuts.
Carroll leads a stellar creative team including Jonathon Oxlade (Set & Costume Design), Trent Suidgeest (Lighting Design), Tim Collins (Sound Design) with Laura Boynes and Bernadette Lewis (Choreographers).
Oklahoma! will be the company’s first staged theatre production since the postponement of the 2020 season due to COVID 19.
Oklahoma! plays in the round on the Heath Ledger Theatre stage from Saturday 28 November to Sunday 20 December 2020. For more information, visit: www.bsstc.com.au for details.
Image: Emily Havea – courtesy of Black Swan State Theatre Company