THE talent pool for matters choral, theatrical and for dance in Limerick is deep, wide and hungry. It’s a pleasing fact that of the 55+ cast in ‘Oklahoma!’, all but three are from Limerick and the two dozen crew and front of house team are local as well.
Smash hit ‘Oklahoma!’ by Rodgers and Hammerstein will open tonight, Thursday 17 for three night at the 1000-seater concert hall, having been in full rehearsal for three weeks.
“The Limerick element is something I want to draw attention to as I don’t feel we blow our trumpet often enough in this town,” says founding member of Limerick Musical Society, Gerry Ryan. “We have a wealth of talent here amongst our own and should promote ourselves more, especially in the light of next year being our City of Culture”.
It’s a matter of annoyance to him that in recent City of Culture meetings at City Hall, neither his LMS group, nor Magic Roundabout, nor Torch nor Quarry Players nor seemingly, others were invited to take part: “Look, our groups are the backbone of amateur theatre in Limerick”.
It is his dear wish that spectacular shows could be released to here from copyright in London to make the 2014 challenge all it can be to reel in visitors and stimulate participants, players and tourists. “We are well up to it,” he states.
Back to this weekend’s ‘Oklahoma!”, directed by Des Henn and choreographed innovatively by AIMS winning Niamh Twomey.
“Maire Keary-Scanlon is our musical director in charge of chorus and a 10-piece orchestra. Des, Niamh and Maire are doing excellent work every night in rehearsals. It’s a big show and technical direction in lighting, for example, is very important to ‘Oklahoma!’ because of outdoor to indoor scenes and how mood changes from light to dark. This is a show for men and women as well as children, all the family.
“The songs are known everywhere, sung in every school, hits such as “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning’ and ‘People will say we’re in Love’”.
The cast has a surprise new member, head of the Redemptorist order Fr Adrian Egan who is playing cowboy Fred. A nod also to consummate wardrobe mistress Jacinta Florish, Tom Enright for stage management and to James Scanlon as Jack of every trade required to put this show on stage.