Get set for the 2020 fall North American tour of Oklahoma

By Alexandra Cohen

The exceptional Tony Award-winning revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma may be closing its run on January 19, 2020, at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre, but a tour will fittingly be opening starting in Oklahoma next fall, ultimately visiting other places in the United States and hopefully Canada.

The first collaboration between iconic Broadway duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Oklahoma! premiered for the first time on Broadway in 1943. The musical is credited with being the first of its kind, integrating its book, score, and choreography with the goal of advancing the plot.

This revival serves as the Broadway debut of visionary director Daniel Fish, who has created a vivid re-imaging of this country-set classic. While he left the original text and score intact, he has managed to explore the plot through a 21st-century lens, making an old story feel new and relevant again.

The cast of this darker Oklahoma! is led by Rebecca Naomi Jones as Laurey and 2019 Tony Award nominee Damon Daunno as Curly – both are in exceptional voice and have completely re-invented the roles. They are joined by 2019 Tony nominees Mary Testa (Aunt Eller) and Tony Award winner Ali Stroker (Ado Annie), as well as many other exceptionally talented company members.

The production has been hailed as Best of the Year and received a Critic’s Pick from the New York Times. Set in Oklahoma just after the turn of the century, the musical explores the complicated love story of Curly, an idealist of a cowboy, and Laurey, a stubborn farm girl, as they fall in love.

Those familiar with the original production will remember the 15-minute Dream Ballet sequence which once closed the show’s first act, a method of exploring Laurey’s romantic feelings and fears. In this revival, the sequence has been re-developed as an awe-inspiring modern dance sequence performed with dim lighting and frantic music. The room watched in hushed silence as dancer Gabrielle Hamilton made her way across the floor.

Making the production all the more unique is the set itself. Performed at Circle in the Square, a small and circular theatre, audience members are truly immersed in the experience. Some lucky audience members even had the opportunity to buy tickets providing them seats directly on stage, where they were teased and flirted with by the characters throughout the show. Red Crock-Pots sit on the tables on stage throughout act one, labeled “hot”. Why? Because they are cooking the chili, which is served with cornbread to all audience members during intermission.


In particular, the show has received quite a bit of buzz for the casting of Ali Stroker in the role of Ado Annie, the comedic foil to Laurey and Curly’s love story. Stroker, originally discovered on Ryan Murphy’s reality TV competition “The Glee Project,” made history in 2015 as the first actress in a wheelchair to appear on a Broadway stage. Once again, she made history last year as the first performer in a wheelchair to receive a Tony Award. During her acceptance speech, she dedicated the award to “every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, who has a limitation or a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena.” No doubt about it, she truly is an inspiration. In addition to Stroker, blind casting in this production includes people of color in roles that were traditionally given to white people. Stroker’s wheelchair is given its own set of choreography but is in no way integral to the character. In fact, Stroker performs 5 shows weekly, with her fantastic understudy, Sasha Hutchings, playing the role for the three other shows. Hutchings does not use a wheelchair during the performance.

The 31-year-old Stroker has been paralyzed since the age of two following a car crash. After her Tony win, she was asked by a reporter how to make Broadway and theatre more accessible.

“The theatres for the house, where all the audience comes in, that is all made accessible to patrons,” Stroker said. “But the backstages are not. So I would ask theatre owners and producers to really look into how they can begin to make the backstage accessible, so performers with disabilities can get around.”

What sort of challenges does she face each day in terms of performing? “I leave home an hour and 45 minutes before curtain,” she explained.  “The show has been so supportive of my needs, providing a car for me to get to and from the theater and helping me inside the theater. Because there are a lot of stairs at the theater’s main entrance, I go in through the office building next door, and then Circle in the Square put in a stairlift for me to get down to the dressing rooms and stage level. They also put in a ramp backstage so I can get around.”

I could not have been more impressed by Daniel Fish’s production of Oklahoma!. It is truly a brilliant feat worthy of celebration, and I felt grateful to have been in the presence of such talent and creativity.

Tickets are available at the box office (1633 Broadway at 50th), or by calling (212) 239-6200. See the website for more information: The show runs for two hours and 45 minutes, including one intermission. Due to the mature content in this production, it is recommended for children ages 12 and up. This production contains fog, loud gunshot effects, moments of darkness, and violence.

The Cher Show preps for tour and a recommendation to experience Feinstein’s/54 Below

By Alexandra Cohen

There are many reasons to travel to New York City, but one most unique to the city’s soul is the extensive list of amazing Broadway musicals found at the heart of Times Square. 

THE CHER SHOW:  Legendary recording artist Cher, born Cherilyn Sarkisian, launched her “Farewell Tour” in 2002 but has continued to perform to this very day.

Broadway’s The Cher Show, wrapping up its run on August 18, 2019  chronicles the evolution of Cher’s career from young elementary school outcast, to half of a comedy duo, to the diva she is known to be today. We saw it at the Neil Simon Theatre (250 West 52nd Street). It will be revived on tour starting in Rochester, NY on October 2020.

Cher’s story is one so complex and empowering that one woman alone cannot tell it—Cher is therefore portrayed by not one but three women who play her at different stages of her life. As the eldest, Star Cher, Stephanie J. Block (Falsettos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood), is an absolute standout. Block, a Broadway veteran, commands the stage with gravitas. It is easy to see why she finally won her first Tony Award for this role earlier this summer. Playing the youngest, Babe Cher, is Micaela Diamond, making an incredible Broadway debut at age 19. Diamond sings and dances her way through the score of Cher classics with ease, making it clear that she will soon become a staple on the Broadway stage. Rounding out the trio is Teal Wicks (Wicked, Finding Neverland), who holds her own as Lady Cher, who many of you grew to love as half of Sonny and Cher.

The trio of Chers do not simply alternate performances—they co-exist. They converse with one another, encouraging each other through their most difficult of moments. The lead actresses, in an interview with Jimmy Fallon, aptly described it as “Cherapy”.

The show also features fantastic performances by Jarrod Spector (Beautiful, Jersey Boys) as Sonny Bono,  Michael Berresse (Kiss Me, Kate; A Chorus Line) as Bob Mackie, Matthew Hydzik (West Side Story, Side Show) as Gregg Allman, and Emily Skinner (Prince of Broadway, Side Show) as  Cher’s mother. The show begins with one of Cher’s most well-known hits, “If I could turn back time,” and that is exactly what comes next: a flashback to her climb to the top. As you watch Cher’s life unfold before your eyes, you will find yourself understanding her in ways that you never have before.

One of the best features of The Cher Show is the costume design by Bob Mackie himself, who won his first Tony Award for this show. One song features a parade of men and women alike, showcasing some of Cher’s most famous red carpet ensembles. Suffice it to say that glitter is involved.

Although The Cher Show will soon close (catch it while you can!), it will carry on with the tour.    

Special needs: Low vision and hard of hearing seats are located to the right of the central row C and to the left of the right row B (Orchestra). Aisle transfer seats with movable arm rests for limited mobility guests are available in the right and left aisles of rows G, J, P, and S of the Orchestra floor, and F and H of the Mezzanine, with two additional seats available in the aisle of the center row T at the rear of the Mezzanine. Wheelchair accessible seating and companion seats are located in the entirety of the left of row V (Orchestra), and additional seats at the left of center and right row U. For any special access seating or other requirements, contact the venue prior to your visit to ensure your individual needs are met.

Tickets for The Cher Show are currently available at or (877-250-2929). 
HADESTOWN: While in town, we also were fortunate enough to get tickets for Hadestown, Broadway’s newest hit musical which took home eight Tony Awards in June. Hadestown tells the epic ancient Greek myths of both Orpheus/Eurydice, the doomed young lovers, and Hades/Persephone, king and queen of the underworld. Narrated by the Greek God Hermes and featuring a New Orleans-like flavor, this musical is sure to leave you absolutely transfixed. “Life is a team sport, and so is walking out of hell” said Anais Mitchell, the show’s songwriter, when she won Best Score at this past year’s Tony Awards for her work on Hadestown. Info:

FEINSTEINS/54 BELOW: Die-hard Broadway fans have undoubtedly already heard of Feinstein’s/54 Below, Broadway’s premiere Supper Club ( At the peak of Times Square, this fantastic establishment offers performances by the best talent that Broadway has to offer, in a setting quite reminiscent of a speakeasy, where you can enjoy performances in a more relaxed environment, alongside food and drink offerings.

In June of 2012, the club opened under the name 54 Below. The space underwent a complete reinvention by multiple Tony Award-winning producers Tom Viertel, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel and Steve Baruch (Hairspray, The Producers), who brought together Broadway’s and New York’s most creative artists and designers as well as top food and hospitality professionals. On September 17, 2015, through a creative partnership with Michael Feinstein, 54 Below was renamed Feinstein’s/54 Below.

Feinstein’s/54 Below features up to three shows nightly as well as a late night lounge. Accommodating 134 people in the main dining room, with all tables no more than 24 feet from the stage, the facilities include the capability to broadcast and record audio and video. A quick YouTube search will allow you to witness some of their incredible past productions.

When I went to Feinstein’s/54 Below for the first time, I took in a performance entitled “All Together Now: Celebrating Broadway’s Best Group Numbers”. Music came from a variety of musicals, both old and new, including Company, Bye Bye Birdie, Heathers, and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Performers included those known for their work in recent and current productions, including School of Rock, Kinky Boots, Aladdin, Pretty Woman, Frozen, Beetlejuice, Be More Chill, The Phantom of the  Opera, The Book of Mormon, Mean Girls and more.

Feinstein’s/54 Below is located at 254 W 54th St. For tickets and info call (646) 476-3551