Cullman Community Theatre presents ‘Oklahoma!’

Laurey (Sarah Jane Skinner) and Curley (Tyler Skinner) take a ride in a “surrey with the fringe on top” in “Oklahoma!”

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman Community Theatre on Friday evening premiered Rodgers and Hammerstein’s iconic “Oklahoma!” to a large crowd at Cullman High School.  The production is the group’s second effort, after last year’s “The Music Man.”

A few minutes before curtain time, Tyler Skinner, who co-directs the music and stars as cowboy Curley, told The Tribune, “It’s been a lot of fun.  I’ve had to work on my country accent quite a bit. I’m originally from Missouri, so I’ve got it in me a little bit, but it’s really over the top in this show.

He continued, “It’s been a blast! It’s so different, and there’s so many cool little things that you don’t know about the show, like little weird character things that you can do, that you don’t know about until you actually get into the character and start doing things.  So it’s been a blast. I’d seen ‘Oklahoma!’ a couple times, a long time ago, and I couldn’t remember a ton about it. We watched a production with Hugh Jackman in it from the late nineties, and it just looked like a blast.”

Melva Jackson co-directed the show with Wayne Cook.

“The cast has just been so great.  Everybody’s been working hard. It’s been tougher than last year, because we didn’t have as much time to put it together, so we were really crunched and everybody’s just been really giving 110 percent to make it come together,” said Skinner. “Wayne Cook and Melva Jackson have just been fantastic, helping us out. Any time we do mess up or do anything, they’re right there to fix it and tell us what to do. It’s going to be a great show, and people are really going to like it.”

After the first night’s curtain fell, Jackson took a few moments to talk to The Tribune.

“The show went really, really well tonight.  It’s always hard to do summer theater, you know, because so many people are out, and you have people going on vacation and that kind of thing.  It’s just kind of hard to pull it all together, but we were a little bit worried about it, like ‘Is this going to happen?’ but they’ve really, really, really pulled it out. We have so many great singers in this show, and actors, so I kept thinking- they were like, ‘Are we going to pull it out?’  And I was like, ‘You know, we’ve got too many good people. It’s going to happen.’ Plus we’ve got Wayne, who’s great with the sets and the lights, and all that kind of stuff. I knew it would happen, but it’s really nice to see it tonight!”

“Oklahoma!” continues  Saturday with shows at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Cullman High School auditorium.  Tickets are available at the door: $12 adults, $7 students.

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W.C. Mann