Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 336-770-3337, carpem@uncsa.edu



WINSTON-SALEM – The University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ (UNCSA) critically acclaimed production of Oklahoma! has won a National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) Award.

The television production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein masterpiece is the first of a series meant to bring the talent and achievements of UNCSA students to a wider audience, and has already been seen in more than 100,000 homes in North Carolina and the state of Oklahoma.
Guided by Emmy Award-winning television director David Stern and produced for television by two-time Emmy Award-winner John Mauceri, UNCSA’s Chancellor, the school’s spring 2011 stage production of Oklahoma! was filmed in high definition by UNC-TV. Featuring an introduction by Chancellor Mauceri, who also served as Musical Director and Artistic Supervisor of the stage production, the show aired on UNC-TV in October 2011 and April 2012. In addition, the show aired in September 2012 on OETA (the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority) in Oklahoma.

Theodore Chapin, President and Executive Director of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, said, “I am thrilled for UNCSA that the film of Oklahoma! has won the NETA Award. Because Rodgers and Hammerstein as creative artists controlled their own business destiny, we were able to cooperate with the school to create the production and encourage the filming of it. The fact that all the hard work has been recognized in this fashion is exciting indeed.”

Oklahoma! was the first UNCSA production to be filmed and aired over UNC-TV with funding from a half-a-million-dollar grant from the A.J. Fletcher Foundation of Raleigh. The gift, $100,000 a year for five years, exposes statewide audiences to UNCSA’s talented students by broadcasting their performances over UNC-TV.

Barbara Goodmon, President and Executive Director of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, said: “The Fletcher Foundation is thrilled that UNCSA’s all-school production of Oklahoma! has won this national award. This recognition only serves to reinforce what we already knew: that the School of the Arts and UNC-TV do top-notch work. Kudos to the students, faculty, alumni and all who worked to make this show a reality, especially Chancellor John Mauceri.”

Mrs. Goodmon is also a member of the UNCSA Board of Trustees.

Last spring, UNC-TV filmed UNCSA’s production of Much Ado About Nothing as well as Spring Dance performances of Swan Lake, Act II, and Sophisticated Kingdom by bold contemporary choreographer Larry Keigwin. Those programs will be broadcast in 2013.  

“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.

“As an arts conservatory, we are able to share our students’ learning outcomes with the public, on and behind stage and screen,” Mauceri noted. “Creating product for UNC-TV is a natural progression.”

Oklahoma! was an all-school production at UNCSA involving more than 400 students. It brought in more than $1 million dollars from ticket sales, gala proceeds, corporate sponsorships and foundation grants. Directed for the stage by UNCSA alumnus and Broadway star Terrence Mann, the show featured Agnes de Mille’s original choreography restored by long-time de Mille associate Gemze de Lappe. In addition, members of the UNCSA School of Design and Production faculty supervised the restoration of the original award-winning set designs of Lemuel Ayers and costume designs of Miles White, not seen in more than a half-century.

When Oklahoma! opened on Broadway in 1943, it transformed musical theatre with its innovative integration of words, music, dance and design. Because the production was a unique and faithful recreation of the original Broadway production, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization granted UNCSA the rights to broadcast the work.

“This award is a testament to the exceptional work of the faculty, students, staff, and alumni who dedicated themselves both to the theatrical production of Oklahoma! and to its filming,” said Katharine Laidlaw, executive producer for the school. “We are grateful for our partners at UNC-TV, and to the principal sponsors of the film project – the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts and the William R. Kenan Fund, Jr. Fund for the Arts – whose support has allowed the production to achieve this special recognition from the television industry.”

The National Educational Telecommunications Association’s judges complimented both the film and the stage production. One judge said: “Very well done. Excellent transition from stage production to broadcast television. Really an interesting project that stayed close to the original.” Another said: Excellent! Did a great job of capturing the stage production. … Great project that came out well.” Still another said: “Masterful camera pans, shots, angles, lighting, audio and music.”

Oklahoma! was one of 122 productions from across the country competing in NETA’s content production category, which included programming in news and public affairs, science and nature, instructional media, and promotion, in addition to performances. Only two other performances were honored:  Alabama Public Television’s We Have Signal: Live from Birmingham and Nine Network of Public Media/St. Louis’s Carmina Burana.

NETA is a professional association that serves public television licensees and educational entities in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Annually, it recognizes public television programming in four categories: content production, community engagement, instructional media, and promotion.

UNCSA alumni Andrew Young (B.F.A. 2007, Filmmaking) was associate director for the UNC-TV production, and Max King (B.F.A. 2012, Filmmaking) assisted with editing for the Oklahoma! television production.

Additional support for the Oklahoma! broadcast production 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 Stern and Young.

John Mauceri, Chancellor of UNCSA, is an internationally renowned conductor. The Founding Director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Mauceri was Music Director and Musical Supervisor of three Broadway musicals: Candide, On Your Toes, and Song and Dance. He has worked closely with The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization on numerous projects including the first-ever recording of all the Overtures from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals (“Opening Night: The Complete Overtures”) as well as a restoration of the film score from The King and I, featuring Julie Andrews and Ben Kingsley, which received the Deutsche Schallplatten Prize in 1993. Among his many other awards and honors are a Tony, Grammy, Billboard, Olivier and two Emmys.

The A.J. Fletcher Foundation supports nonprofit organizations in their endeavors to enrich the lives and well-being of people in North Carolina. Under the leadership of Barbara and Jim Goodmon, the Foundation aims to be a force for social progress in North Carolina, strengthening human services, giving voice to people without a voice, and shaping public policy through partnerships.

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.

As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.