Not only is Rick McAllister performing in Oklahoma!, but he also has been blogging about his experience. You can read all of his blogs under the news section of the website. Here are some more thoughts from Rick, who is performing as Ike Skidmore in Oklahoma!. LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
RM: Well, I’m an actor, turned stagehand, turned stagehand/actor. Over the past few years I have recently returned onstage after a 10 year hiatus. I have worked professionally behind the scenes on over a combined 70 productions with Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins and Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, of which I am currently in my eleventh season. When not working or “playing” in the theatre world, I assist the teachers at Especially for Children in Eden Prairie.
I am extremely excited to be performing at Lyric Arts having heard so many great things about the theatre group, especially from some of the Children’s Theatre Company’s student actors. Lyric Arts is a wonderful company to be involved with.
LA: For those who are unfamiliar with the show, can you tell us a little more about it?
RM: Classic love story set in the south at the turn of the century. Curly loves Laurey, Laurey loves Curly, but doesn’t really show it. Jud Fry loves Laurey too. Meanwhile, Will loves Ado Annie, Ado Annie loves Will, but is also in love with Ali Hakim. Ali is in love with pretty much every woman.
LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular musical interested you?
RM: In 1998 I was originally cast as Ali Hakim with Eden Prairie Players, but because of my work schedule I had to withdraw from the show. Having recently seen the production done at Bloomington Civic Theatre, it made regret my decision from withdrawing and wanting to do the show again.
LA: Talk about the character that you play in Oklahoma!. How have you developed this character?
RM: I play Ike Skidmore, a cowboy/ranch owner. Because of the way the script is written, it almost helps you create your character. I have partially based my character off of some of the cowboys seen in Blazing Saddles.
LA: Why should people come and see Oklahoma!?
RM: It has wonderful music and dance numbers, and an amazing cast. Oh, the love story is nice too.
LA: Talk about your fellow cast members. How do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
RM: I missed the first couple weeks of rehearsals and haven’t been at many principal role rehearsals, but I was very impressed with Stephanie Wipf’s (Laurey) dance ability during the Dream Ballet. Also, hearing the women singing, “Out of my Dreams”, blew me away.
LA: In your opinion, what are this production's "wow elements"?
RM: I think “The Farmer and the Cowman” music and dance number, and the sound of “Oklahoma” will be the big wow factor.
LA: Tell us what surprised you, or what was unexpected, about the show.
RM: This was not necessarily unexpected, but more of forgotten. The part singing in the title song, “Oklahoma”. I am not the best at singing in parts, as I usually stray away and sing whatever part is being sung closest to me, especially the melody. It has been a fun challenge though. My fourth grade choir teacher would be proud.
LA: What is really exciting to you about how the show has come together?
RM: I am excited to have a few solo parts in “The Farmer and the Cowman” and “Oklahoma”.
LA: Are musicals easier or harder than "straight shows"? If so, why?
RM: I think it all depends on the role. But, YES, I believe musicals are harder and more vocally/physically demanding.
LA: What is your favorite musical to watch?
RM: "Annie" has been one of my favorite musicals since I was a kid. I remember listening to the music that my elementary school music teacher brought in during my 2nd or 3rd grade year. I truly believe that that music is what got me interested in theater, albeit, not until my teen years.
LA: Being that Oklahoma! takes place during the turn of the century, what do you consider the best invention of this century?
RM: Wow, that’s a tough question. The iPhone. I would say Facebook, but I’m addicted to it, so I’m not going to.
LA: To date, what is your favorite role?
RM: Charlie Cowell, Anvil Saleman from Music Man. I have had the opportunity to play that role twice. I enjoyed playing Charlie, because he was kind of a mean and grumpy person, unlike myself…most of the time.
LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?
RM: I would love to play Daddy Warbucks in Annie and/or Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.