UNCSA’S ACCLAIMED, ALL-SCHOOL PRODUCTION
WINSTON-SALEM – Citizens from Murphy to Manteo will soon get their chance to see what Winston-Salem audiences fell in love with last spring: the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ all-school production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
The popularly and critically acclaimed production was filmed in HD and will be aired on UNC-TV on Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 8-11 p.m. The TV production will be hosted by UNCSA Chancellor John Mauceri, who served as musical director and artistic supervisor of the stage production.
The TV production is made possible by a half-a-million-dollar grant from the A.J. Fletcher Foundation of Raleigh. The gift, $100,000 a year for five years, will expose statewide audiences to UNCSA’s talented students by broadcasting their performances over UNC-TV. Oklahoma! is the first UNCSA production to be filmed and aired over UNC-TV with the grant.
“The UNC system is unique in many ways,” Chancellor Mauceri said. “Two of them are in having a system-wide arts conservatory, UNCSA, and another is in having a system-wide television network, UNC-TV. It seemed only natural to me that we find a way for these two institutions to work together. The Fletcher Foundation has shared in that vision, making this fantastic dream a reality.
“Surely this will be a tremendous way for UNCSA to say ‘thank you’ to the people of North Carolina,” Mauceri added, “and for our citizens throughout the state to share in the astonishing achievements of our student artists.”
UNC-TV Director and General Manager Tom Howe said: “We appreciate the opportunity to be able to use this ground-breaking grant to enrich the unique services to the state provided by UNC-TV and UNCSA, and to enhance North Carolina's cultural experience. UNC-TV has a rich tradition of bringing performance and cultural programming to a statewide audience, so this joint effort is a perfect fit for us.”
Photos by Donald Dietz
Additional support was provided by the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts and the William R. Kenan, Jr. Fund for the Arts, which facilitated the hiring of accomplished television director David Stern to helm the cameras and UNCSA School of Filmmaking alumnus Andrew Young to serve as associate director and editor of the project.
“The Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts is excited about leveraging the artistic resources of the state of North Carolina with this unique project,” said Margaret S. Mertz, executive director of the Kenan Institute for the Arts. “Putting the technical resources of public television together with the state's professional training program for emerging artists, directed by professionals experienced in filming live performances is truly a one-of-a-kind public-private partnership. This broadcast will be the first of many that will benefit all the citizens of North Carolina.”
Emmy Award-winner David Stern is a prolific TV director, producer and writer. In addition to Oklahoma!, his recent projects include 9/11 Memorial from Ground Zero / Tenth Anniversary, Restoring Courage: Jerusalem 2011, Transcendent Man: Live with Ray Kurzweil, The Importance of Being Ernest (all 2011); A Prairie Home Companion Live in HD! Again! (2010); This American Life Live! (2009); A Christmas Celtic Sojourn Live (2007); Broadway Under the Stars (2006); and many more. He also was recently nominated for a Tony Award as a producer of The Scottsboro Boys on Broadway.
More than 10,000 people saw UNCSA’s faithful restoration of the original 1943 Broadway production, which played April 28-May 8 at the school’s Roger L. Stevens Center in Winston-Salem. Among the acclaim:
· “Oklahoma! is a hit from start to end. … This Oklahoma! is no ‘student’ performance but one worthy of the best professional theater in any major city in the country – first-rate acting, singing, dancing, and playing made this event the major entertainment event of the season, bar none! – Classical Voice North Carolina
· “From the first note, the sheer energy of the show comes at you at once, like . . . well, like wind sweepin’ down a plain. – savorNC
· “To say the show was awesome would be the understatement of the century. From the actors to the costumes, Oklahoma! wowed me the whole way through.” – Life in Forsyth
· “The color and energy on stage dazzle and delight the eye. The voices and orchestra tantalize the ear. You'll be humming for days and maybe even kicking up your heels… .” – Winston-Salem Journal
The show and accompanying gala generated more than $330,000 for student scholarships at UNCSA.
When Oklahoma! opened on Broadway in 1943, it transformed musical theatre with its innovative integration of words, music, dance and design. UNCSA’s restoration includes the original Agnes de Mille choreography. In addition, UNCSA extensively researched all aspects of the original production and painstakingly recreated the original costumes and stage designs.
Theodore Chapin, President and Executive Director of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, said, “For John Mauceri to conceive the idea of an Oklahoma! as close to exactly how it was when it opened may seem like a simple idea, but no one has had it before. It is sure to add an invaluable piece to both the historic and performance history of a musical that has long been acknowledged as the one that galvanized an entertainment genre into an American art form.”
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.
UNC-TV is North Carolina's statewide public television network, made possible by a unique combination of public funding and private support. UNC-TV's unique programs and services provide people of all ages with enriching, life-changing television. For more information, visit www.unctv.org.