CHICAGO (AP) - The Lyric Opera of Chicago is putting on a version of "Oklahoma!" with a choreographer who first danced in the famed musical 70 years ago.
Gemze de Lappe (JEHM'-zee DEH'-lahp) is 91-years-old and was in the first national touring company of "Oklahoma!" in 1943. She's in Chicago, trying to help director Gary Griffin recreate that original "Oklahoma!" production. It opens on Saturday and runs through May 19. Griffin says having de Lappe available to comment on ideas and songs is invaluable.
De Lappe says it's important for modern audiences to see "Oklahoma!" because they haven't seen a proper production for two generations.
The Chicago production of "Oklahoma!" includes 37 members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and a company of nearly 40 actors. The production is the first of 5 classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals that the Lyric is staging as part of its American Musical Theater Initiative.
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