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Broadway and Chicago actors among the company of Lyric Opera’s ‘Oklahoma!’

Lyric Opera of Chicago has announced principal casting for its company premiere of a new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical, “Oklahoma!” The production will be directed by Gary Griffin, who staged the original Broadway edition of “The Color Purple,” as well as many productions of Stephen Sondheim musicals at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (including the currently running “Sunday in the Park with George”).

John Cudia, who has appeared on Broadway in both “Les Miserables” and “Phantom of the Opera,” will play Curly, with Ashley Brown (who starred in “Mary Poppins” here) as Laurey. Baritone David Adam Moore will play Jud, with Jenn Gambatese (seen in “Footloose” and “Hairspray” on Broadway) as Ado Annie, and Curtis Holbrook, a Broadway actor and dancer, as Will Parker.

The cast also will include many familiar Chicago actors, including Paula Scrofano (as Aunt Eller), Usman Ally (as Ali Hakim), Matt DeCaro (as Andrew Carnes), and Andrea Prestinario (as Gertie Cummings).

Agnes de Mille’s original choreography will be overseen by Gemze de Lappe, 90, a de Mille protege (with associate choreographer Victor Wisehart). The design team includes John Lee Beatty (sets), Lookingglass Theatre veteran Mara Blumenfeld (costumes) and Christine Binder (lights).

The 16 performances of “Oklahoma” will run May 4-19. For tickets call (312) 332-2244 or visit

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