FISH CREEK, WI - Northern Sky Theater opens its summer season on Wednesday, June 14th, with the world premiere of Oklahoma in Wisconsin.
In 2008 Northern Sky's artistic director, Jeff Herbst, reached out to the Academy for New Musical Theatre in Los Angeles (now NMI) and encouraged writers there to develop ideas for future Northern Sky productions. Oklahoma in Wisconsin is Northern Sky's third collaboration with NMI, after the success of Windjammers and When Butter Churns to Gold. Oklahoma in Wisconsin is a charming musical homage to Door County by Richard Castle (book and lyrics) and Matthew Levine (music).
"Our partnership with New Musicals, Inc. has already produced three world premieres with three different writing teams. Writers from LA, New York, and the Midwest have all been a part of these collaborations. They've drawn their inspiration from what we do at Northern Sky, in working with our company, and in visiting and experiencing a show in the park. Many have said it has been their favorite writing experience to date," notes Herbst.
"Because we were writing Oklahoma in Wisconsin in Los Angeles, we were able to workshop early drafts at New Musicals, Inc.," adds Richard Castle. "NMI offered helpful feedback and produced several staged readings that Northern Sky Theater could view online from Wisconsin. NMI's input was invaluable during these early stages of development."
Oklahoma in Wisconsin
takes place in 1954, the year the movie version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! went into production. Hollywood wanted to film this classic musical on location so it could capture the widescreen Technicolor beauty of the waving wheat as the wind came sweepin' down the plain. But there was one problem: the state of Oklahoma had too many oil wells dotting the landscape, making it an unsuitable location to film the movie.
Hollywood would need to find a stand-in for Oklahoma. Oklahoma State Representative Victor Wickersham was incensed when Hollywood refused to say "OK" to Oklahoma, and even denounced the production in Washington, D.C., on the floor of the House of Representatives. Despite his protests, location scouts fanned out across the country to find a more visually appealing location. Oklahoma in Wisconsin imagines that one of those scouts made his way from Hollywood up to Door County and fell in love.
Northern Sky's season includes three other musical comedies playing in rotating repertory at their outdoor amphitheater in Peninsula State Park.
Joining Oklahoma in Wisconsin is Matt Zembrowski's Doctor! Doctor!, in which a retiring small-town physician recruits his young big-city nephew to take over his practice.
, by Emilie Coulson, Katie Dahl and James Valcq, will return for its third run with Northern Sky. Set during World War II, Victory Farm is a story with roots deep in the soil of a Door County cherry orchard.
Lumberjacks in Love
, the Fred Alley and James Kaplan cult classic, also returns to the woods for one-night-a-week.
Northern Sky's summer season runs from June 14th to August 26th at the Peninsula State Park Amphitheater in Fish Creek, WI. General admission tickets are $22 for adults, $11 for students, and $6 for children 12 and under. Reserved seats are $7 more per ticket. A park sticker is not required to attend performances in the park.
Tickets are on sale in the Northern Sky box office at the Green Gables shops in north Ephraim, via phone at (920) 854-6117, and online at www.NorthernSkyTheater.com.