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November 02, 2005

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Publication Date: Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Woodside theater company to stage Woodside theater company to stage (November 02, 2005)'Oklahoma!'

** About 120 people are involved in production at new high school theater.

By Marjorie Mader

Almanac Staff Writer

Woodside Community Theatre is bringing back a favorite musical in a new venue: the Performing Arts Center at Woodside High School.

"Oklahoma!," the musical classic by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein that debuted on Broadway 62 years ago, will run from Friday, November 11, through Saturday, November 19.

About 120 people are involved in the production. The cast of 70 ranges from second-graders to adults over 60. Dozens of volunteers are working behind the scenes making costumes, building sets, rounding up props and handling the technical side.

This is the first time the theater group has moved its production from the George Sellman Auditorium on the Woodside Elementary School campus.

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, November 11 and 12; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, November 13; and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 17, 18 and 19.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students, age 18 and under. Tickets may be ordered by e-mailing or calling the box office at 365-6404.
George Sellman

This production of "Oklahoma!" is dedicated to the memory of George Sellman, Woodside resident and Woodside School superintendent and principal, who died October 1 at age 81.

He established the eighth-grade operetta at the school that has become a tradition.

In the early 1960s, eighth-grade parents suggested an adult production, just so the kids didn't have all the fun, according to early members of the group.

During the decades of the 1950s through the 1990s, Mr. Sellman organized and directed an eclectic group of Woodside residents -- grown-ups and children -- in musical and dramatic productions.

The community troupe went on vacation for 11 years after Mr. Sellman retired, but got back together to stage "Annie Get Your Gun" in 2003 and "Kiss Me, Kate" last year.
New theater

Mark Bowles, co-producer, technical director and one of the 70 cast members in "Oklahoma!," said the theater company chose a show that would "work spectacularly" in the new performing arts center.

The stage can accommodate large-scale scenery and even a 25-piece orchestra, he said. It's high-tech and has great acoustics and comfortable seats.

"Rehearsals are going spectacularly," said Mr. Bowles. "The music of this show is so sweet and lyrical it brings tears to the eyes of the performers."

Jamie Lease, a student at Canada Middle College, plays Laurie, the "country girl" who is courted by Curly, the cowboy, played by Danny Martin. Alicia Molin, who starred in two of the theatrical group's shows, plays Ado Annie -- "the girl who cain't say no."

Mindy Bowles and Donna Losey have teamed up as producers. Elena Mori is artistic director and Ruthanne Smith, music director. Richard Gordon directs the 25-piece orchestra.

Also returning for this production are Jane Kellam, choreographer, Deborah Rosas, costume designer, and Don and Catherine Coluzzi, lighting designers.

Mark and Mindy Bowles became involved with the theater group in 1991 after their children, Bill and Sarah, played the native children in "South Pacific." He is the set designer and technical director.

The theater is on the Woodside High School campus at 199 Churchill Ave.

For more information, check Woodside Community Theatre on the Web.

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