Emily Havea will take on the traditionally male role of Curly in ‘Oklahoma!’

Black Swan State Theatre Company of WA have announced that actor Emily Havea (Wentworth, Harrow, The Secrets She Keeps) has been cast as cowperson Curly McLain in their forthcoming production of the musical Oklahoma!

The comedic role has traditionally been played by a male actor, but in a gender-blind cast move Black Swan are mixing it up. The season will run from Saturday 28 November to Sunday 20 December, on the Heath Ledger Theatre stage at the State Theatre Centre.

Acclaimed director Richard Carroll (Calamity Jane, Once, The Show Goes On) was pleased that the estate of Rodgers and Hammerstein agreed to the cross-gender casting.

He added that he has “watched Emily Havea be incredible and totally original in several plays and on television, and I’m so excited to now be working with her on Oklahoma! Having a female actor play Curly brings so many new and fascinating complexities to the show, especially the complications and dangers of the ‘love triangle’ between Laurey, Curly and Jud.

“Emily is part of a dream cast and creative team, and I can’t wait to bring this version of Oklahoma! to the stage” Carroll said.

Oklahoma! will be the company’s first staged theatre production since the postponement of the 2020 season due to COVID 19.

Describing the upcoming production the company said the songs of Oklahoma! were written in the style of American folk music and have become almost folk songs themselves. In this production they plan to present the music in the style of its bluegrass, country, square-dance roots, and for audiences to enjoy a 360° experience.

Joining Emily will be eight accomplished and versatile actors and a bluegrass quartet led by renowned Musical Director Victoria Falconer. The cast includes veteran actors Caroline McKenzie as Aunt Eller, Luke Hewitt as Andrew Carnes, Laila Bano-Rind as Ado Annie with Stefanie Caccamo as Laurey, Andy Cook as Jud Fry and Cameron Taylor as Ali Hakim, together with recent WAAPA graduates Sara Reed as Dream Laurey and Axel Duffy as Will Parker, making their professional debuts.

The Rogers and Hammerstein musical was a Broadway hit in 1943 and first perfomed in Australia in 1949. It was turned into a popular Hollywood movie in 1955 starring Gordon McRae, Shirley Jones and Rod Steiger.

The show has been revived many times, notably a 1998 West End version starred Hugh Jackman and was also filmed. In 2019 a more immersive version of the show played at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre.

The season will run from Saturday 28 November to Sunday 20 December, tickets are extremely limited due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Find out the details at Black Swan State Theatre Company

OIP Staff

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