91-YEAR-OLD CHOREOGRAPHER KEEPS OKLAHOMA TRUE TO THE ORIGINAL

May 07, 2013

By Scott Walker

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When Chicago’s Lyric Opera decided to stage Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical, Oklahoma, producers wanted a production that was true to the original. So they brought in the only person who could guarantee it.

Gemze de Lappe danced in the first touring production of Oklahoma. At 91, she’s choreographing the Lyric Opera production.

De Lappe has been guarding the original intention of the creators of Oklahoma ever since she first took the stage in the production. She has worked with Rodgers, Hammerstein, and choreographer Agnes de Mille on various productions.

Associate Choreographer Victor Wisehart says de Lappe is the only person alive who knows what the original creators of the landmark musical intended.

The Lyric Opera production of Oklahoma opened in Chicago on Saturday. It runs until the 19th.

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