Celebrating the genius of Broadway’s iconic songwriting team and their star Joan Roberts
Oklahoma! star Joan Roberts, right), mentored many young aspiring performers, including Merrick’s Sarah Losner, who will
sing in Roberts honor at the Madison Theatre next Saturday.
The best of musical theater is showcased next week when old and new Broadway stars combine their talents in the dynamic musical revue, “An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein: A Tribute to Joan Roberts.”
Indeed, it will be some enchanted evening when a collection of 13 performers, including student vocalists, gather together to highlight Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s vast songbook, on Saturday, May 25. This special concert – the first production from South Shore Theatricals, in conjunction with the Madison Theatre – honors Joan Roberts, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s original Laurey in “Oklahoma!.”
The brilliant composer and lyricist are acknowledged to have changed the face of musical theater, notably from their collaboration with“Oklahoma!” and on subsequent shows.
And with Joan Roberts (a Rockville Centre resident for many years) who defined the role of the plucky heroine Laurey, “Oklahoma!” – which opened in 1943 and ran for 2,212 performances – set the standard for the modern American musical.
That show also propelled Roberts to stardom, and a life-long commitment to honoring and preserving Rodgers and Hammerstein’s legacy. In the process, Roberts, who died last year (Aug. 13, 2012) created her own legacy through her philanthropic efforts with area arts organizations and support of local students interested in pursuing a performing career.
“South Shore Theatricals dedicates its premiere production, produced in cooperation with the Madison Theatre at Molloy College, as a tribute to our late board member and advisor Joan Roberts,” said Bruce Bider, co-founder of South Shore Theatricals, with his partner John Pane. “Joan was strong supporter of the performing arts on Long Island, and Molloy College in particular, helping to raise the funds that built the Hays Theater. She spent the latter part of her life supporting theater here on Long Island. She was particularly noted for giving performers from Long Island great encouragement in furthering their theatrical pursuits.”