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Playhouse 395’s ‘Oklahoma!’ stampedes into Bishop

February 7, 2014

Working on a song and moves from the upcoming Playhouse 395 show “Oklahoma!” are (l-r) Ryan Tetz (Fred), Karen Keene (assistant director), Dennis Wagner (Jess), Liam Means (Sam), Ron Valenzuela (Will Parker) and Susan Kunze (Aunt Eller). Photo by Bob Rice

Residents are invited to grab their cowboy hats and boots as Playhouse 395’s production of the Rogers and Hammerstein blockbuster musical “Oklahoma!” stampedes into the historic Bishop Union High School Theater this March with cowboys, cowgirls and farmers kicking up a song and dance storm.
The local cast, led by real-life couple Jenn and Eddie Davis as Laurey and Curly, kicked off rehearsal right after New Year’s for the Playhouse 395 spring show.
Veteran Director Martha Reynolds holds the reins, while Diana and Chris Lanane direct the vocals and Bishop Community Band Conductor Mark Hatter leads the live orchestra.
Key cast members for this production include Patti Cook as hilarious Ado Annie, Ron Valenzuela as likable and gullible Will Parker, Chet Baker as creepy Jud Fry, Susan Kunze as the stalwart Aunt Eller and newcomer Cristian Herrera as the shifty but fun peddler Ali Hakim.
Memorable “Oklahoma!” songs such as “Oh What a Beautiful Morning,” “I Just Can’t Say No” (also the show motto), “Poor Jud is Dead” and of course “Oklahoma!” bring the settling of the West to life and may leave attendees humming for days.
Behind the scenes dozens of volunteers are building and painting sets; hand-creating Western costumes and gathering ranching props, all with the goal of transporting theater-goers to the Oklahoma Territory of the early 1900s.
Over the last three weekends in March only, theater fans will have the opportunity to see some fine rope twirlin’, barn dancin’ and even the “Surrey with the fringe on the top.”
Fans will also want to be sure to get out their best Western wear and join the fun because a prize will be given out at each show for the best-dressed cowgirl and cowboy.
Tickets are on sale now and show dates are March 7-9, 14-16 and 21-22.
For tickets or more information, visit www.Playhouse395.com, call (760) 920-9100, or stop by the box office in the Inyo Council for the Arts building at 136 S. Main St. Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

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