Skydance Television today announced that it has partnered with The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization and Concord to develop an original television series inspired by the hit Broadway musical Oklahoma! The present-day series written by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, The Highwaymen) and Bekah Brunstetter (This Is Us, American Gods) will be set in America’s heartland and include music by the legendary team of Rodgers & Hammerstein, reimagined for a contemporary audience, in addition to new music to support the story.
“Oklahoma!’s artistically revolutionary position in American culture has both kept it at the forefront of theatrical performances and allowed for various new innovations. This first-time ever television series will expand on the life of this remarkably resilient show,” said Ted Chapin, Chief Creative Officer, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, a Concord company.
John Lee Hancock will also direct the first episode and serve as executive producer of the series alongside Brunstetter and fellow executive producers Ted Chapin of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization; Sophia Dilley of Concord; and David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross of Skydance Television. Bill Bost, Senior Vice President of Television will oversee the project for Skydance.
“Oklahoma! is one of the greatest musicals of all time, and we’re honored The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization and Concord have entrusted us to produce this ambitious television series,” commented Marcy Ross, President, Skydance Television. “Skydance has found the perfect architects to create this world with John Lee Hancock and Bekah Brunstetter, who will honor the spirit of the original show while creating a unique and contemporary story.”
“We are thrilled to be working with such great partners at Skydance Television and with the talented John Lee Hancock and Bekah Brunstetter to envision a new world that pulls from the rich characters and stories in Oklahoma!,” stated Sophia Dilley, Vice President Film & Television Development and Production, Concord.
Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist/lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs’ 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in farm country outside the town of Claremore, Indian Territory, in 1906, it tells the story of farm girl Laurey Williams and her courtship by two rival suitors. The original Broadway production opened on March 31, 1943. It was a box-office smash and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances, later enjoying award-winning revivals, national tours, foreign productions and an Academy Award-winning 1955 film adaptation. Following a fall 2018 run at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse, a 75th anniversary staging of Oklahoma! opened on April 7th on Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre. The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization was acquired by Concord in July 2017.