On Stage: From Oklahoma! to Osage County with John Anderson
Wednesdays from 11am – 1pm at Wellfleet Preservation HallClass Dates: April 24, May 1, 8, 15, 22.
This class will focus on drama set in Oklahoma by tracing the development of a now-obscure play into the beloved 1943 musical Oklahoma! (opening on Broadway in March in a newly imagined revival) as well as exploring the 2008 Pulitzer-Prize-winning comedy-drama August: Osage County (on stage at the Provincetown Theater in May).
In 1930, a gay, part-Cherokee playwright named Lynn Riggs (1899-1954) wrote Green Grow the Lilacs, a folk-play set in pre-statehood “Indian Territory” in 1900. It played on Broadway for two months and was a finalist for the 1931 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II followed Riggs’ work closely when they adapted it into a now-classic musical in 1943. Hammerstein acknowledged that “Mr. Riggs’ play is the well-spring of almost all that is good in Oklahoma! The ground-breaking musical integrated music and dance with Riggs’ folk-play in an innovative way that revolutionized the form of musical theatre.
Set in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, August: Osage County is an intense comedy-drama about the Weston family confronting various crises in the wake of the disappearance of the family’s patriarch. Author Tracy Letts (born in 1965), a native Oklahoman, is a long-time member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, where the play premiered in 2007 before opening on Broadway the following year, winning the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The class will have opportunities to see the Provincetown Theater production of August: Osage County, directed by David Drake and the Broadway revival of Oklahoma! at the Circle in the Square Theatre.