“There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow” this beautiful mornin’ along the banks of The Fox as I happily announce here the thrilling cast for Paramount Theatre’s Season Five Opener: Oklahoma!

Colte Julian is “Curly McLain,” Allison Sill is “Laurey Williams,” and Peter Saide is “Jud Fry” rising Chicago musical theatre stars all making their Paramount debut this fall. Mr. Julian is an Oklahoma native son who has played “Jerry Lee Lewis” at The Apollo Theatre and in the national tour of the long running hit Million Dollar Quartet. Gorgeous Ms. Sill caused a sensation as “Inga” in Drury Lane’s Young Frankenstein, and Mr. Saide turned heads as the dashing “Willoughby” in Chicago Shakes’ Sense and Sensibility. 

The terrific Lillie Cummings, last season’s “Eponine” in our Les Misérables and “Little Sally” in The Who’s Tommy, is “Ado Annie Carnes” paired with triple threat Carl Draper as “Will Parker” who played the bumbling servant “Robertson Ay” in our Mary Poppins and “Bobby” in Paramount’s A Chorus Line. Kareem Bandealy, currently starring in Moby Dick at Lookingglass, is the Persian peddler, “Ali Hakim” and Jeff Award nominee for Kokandy’s The Full Monty, Caron Buinis, seen here in The Music Man, leads the company in the role of “Aunt Eller Murphy.”

Also returning to Paramount having appeared in Mary Poppins and The Music Man is Don Forston as “Andrew Carnes,” with Don Richards, our “FDR” in Annie, as “Cord Elam” and lovely Allyson Graves in a comic turn as “Gertie Cummings.”

The men and women of the ensemble are: Aubrey Adams, William Carlos Angulo,  Annelise Baker, Larry Baldacci, Courtney Cerny, Aaron Conklin, Erica Evans, Sam Gardner, Alana Grossman, Matt Holzfeind, Kristina Larson-Hauk, James Lee, Chelsea Morgan, Holly Stauder, James Števko, J Tyler Whitmer and Phil Young.

I’ll be directing with Katie Spelman: Choreographer, Tom Vendafreddo: Music Director & Conductor, Scott Davis: Scenic Designer, Theresa Ham: Costume Designer, Greg Hofmann: Lighting Designer, Mike Stanfill: Projection Designer, Adam Rosenthal: Sound Designer, Katie Cordts: Wig/Makeup Designer, Sarah Ross: Properties Designer, Sara Gammage: Stage Manager, Amber Johnson: Assistant Stage Manager, with Jason Pikscher: Technical Director and Rose Marie Packer: Production Director. And facilitating everything is my Assistant Director, Trent Stork.

I would typically have lots more to say about this stunning roster of talent, but I’m running late to auditions today for West Side Story and Hairspray. Looking at how A Christmas Story is shaping up in design and casting; I can tell you this: I think we have a holiday blockbuster on our hands if ya don’t mind my sayin’ so! A tremendously exciting season ahead! More announcements to come!

Love & thanks!