“Ultimately it’s about redemption and our protagonist really trying to find redemption on earth and in the after life,” Churchman said.
Brooke Lacy, musical theater senior playing Julie Jordan, said performing her role will be a rewarding challenge. Julie’s character is a compassionate, forgiving woman who loves Billy but isn’t naive about the consequences of others’ actions.
“There’s good in everybody but that doesn’t excuse abuse in any way. ... I hope audiences get that Julie knows it’s wrong and she understands that it’s not okay,” Lacy said.
Churchman said the relatively small cast of 19 OU students and three local children narrate the story with the iconic Broadway favorites like “If I Loved You,” ‘June is Bustin’ Out All Over,” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
“For many people that love Rodgers and Hammerstein, they tend to think that this is the most beautiful score, the most beautiful music that Richard Rodgers ever wrote,” Churchman said. “And I tend to agree with them. It’s probably their best score. He said many times it was his favorite score.”
OU’s adaptation of the big, classical musical into the smaller theater space of the Weitzenhoffer Theatre is going to provide for an intimate setting, Churchman said.
“This is going to be a very, very different interpretation for this show,” he said. “In the sense that we're going to be singing and dancing and acting this very dramatic story right in the laps of the audience.”
Churchman said they had to be creative with set design and choreography to effectively use the smaller-size of the theater. The hopeful result, he said, is that the audience will feel immersed in the performance and in Maine itself.
“We have sand and rocks, we always want them to get an idea that there’s always the ocean within a few yards,” he said, referring to set pieces including a lighthouse, quintessential Maine architecture and a dock.