‘Oklahoma!’ Opens With An All-Black Cast

Oklahoma! opens today at Portland Center Stage in Portland, Oregon. The African-American production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, starring Rodney Hicks and Brianna Horne, begins previews Sept. 20.

The musical is set in an all-black town with a huge cast of talented people. Oklahoma! will officially open Sept. 23 and continue through Oct. 30. Get tickets here.

MEET THE CAST OF ‘OKLAHOMA!’

Sumayya Ali (Virginia/Ensemble) Sumayya Ali is incredibly grateful and excited to be a part of this ground breaking production of Oklahoma! This versatile soprano has been successful in opera, musical theater, pop and dance. Most recently Ms. Ali has performed in City Center’s Lost in the Stars, The Kennedy Center’s Master Class, and the revival ofRagtime on Broadway. She has played various roles in operas throughout the America and Europe and was in the top 100 of the sixth season of American Idol. She danced as a company member and featured soloist with Step Afrika for two years. Sumayya received a BA from Spelman College as well as a Master’s in music from The New England Conservatory. She would like to dedicate this performance to her mother and new baby, Hasibas Nabila and Zahara.
Bianca Burgess (Ilene/Can Can Girl/Ensemble) Bianca is super excited to join the cast of Oklahoma! at PCS!  Bianca is a B.F.A graduate of Marymount Manhattan College in NYC under the direction of Katie Langan.  Former member of Washington Reflections Dance Company.  Tours: 1st National Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and 42nd Street in Asia. The Spirit of Kwanzaa at the Kennedy Center.  Drastic Cuts choreographed by Donald Byrd at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Washington. Thank you God for the ability and talents to perform.  Love to my fiance Stephen and my awesome family for their continual support
Kelcy Griffin (Gertie Cummings/Ensemble/Dance Captain) Kelcy is thrilled to be making her PCS debut! A proud Chicago native, Kelcy was most recently seen in the National Tour of Dreamgirls (Michelle U/S). She is also a graduate of the University of Michigan. Some Regional credits include Deena Jones in Dreamgirls (Cohoes Music Hall), Pilar inLegally Blonde (Gateway Playhouse), The Producers, Miss Saigon (Music Theatre of Wichita) and Aida (ACCC). NYC Readings: Cool Papa’s Party (feat Wayne Brady). Kelcy would like to thank her family first and always for their continued support. She is so incredibly blessed! So much thanks and love to Nicholas, Dustin and Judy Boals, INC. Always believe!!
Gregory J. Hanks (Mike/Ensemble) Gregory J. Hanks is thrilled to be appearing in the Portland Center Stage production of Oklahoma!. Regional credits include: Hairspray(Arkansas Repertory Theatre and Phoenix Theatre), Dreamgirls (Cohoes Music Hall),Oklahoma!The ProducersChicagoAll Shook UpThe Will Rogers Follies (Surflight Theatre), The Full Monty and Crazy for You (Alexander Kasser Theatre). Gregory holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Last but not least, he thanks his amazingly supportive family and friends. Jeremiah 17:7
Berwick Haynes (Andrew Carnes) Berwick Haynes is overjoyed to be making his Portland Center Stage debut. Most recently from the San Francisco Bay Area, he was last seen in Marin Theatre Company’s production of Woody Guthrie’s American Song (Man). He studied theatre at both San Francisco and Hayward State Universities. Some of his regional credits include Mitch in  The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (San Jose Repertory Theatre), Ken in Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Artpark & Company), Carbon in Cyrano de Bergerac (Tennessee Repertory Theatre), Otto Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank (Stage One of Louisville), Horse in The Full Monty (Drury Lane Water Tower), Timothy in The Cay(California Theatre Center, where he originated the role), and Anyone Can Whistle directed by Lonny Price with Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald (Ravina Festival). To Lonnie, Kim and Steph he sends undying love and gratitude. And to all, L’Chaim!
Rodney Hicks (Curly) Rodney Hicks is beyond thrilled to have this extraordinary opportunity and to be working at Portland Center Stage on this iconic show. Broadway: Clarence Norris in The Scottsboro Boys, Benny in RENT (Closing Cast/DVD), Peter in Jesus Christ Superstar, Original Cast of RENT (Original Cast Recording); Off-Broadway: The Scottsboro Boys (Original Cast Recording), The Nightshade FamilyJacques Brel (Original Revival Cast/Cast Recording), Dorian GrayIrrationalsBeautifulFrom My Hometown (Audelco Nomination Leading Actor in a Musical),RENT (Obie Award), Lotto (Audelco Award Supporting Actor in a Play), Bring in the Morning; Regional: White Noise(Tyler), Miss Saigon (John), Noah’s Great Rainbow (Murigande), King Lear (Edmund), The 60’s Project (Roy), Ain’t Misbehavin’Two Gentlemen of Verona (Valentine), Patron St. of Peanuts (George W. Carver), Lobby Hero (William),Hair (Hud), Golden Boy (Joe Bonaparte), Letters from ‘Nam (Marion); TV: Hope & Faith (Guest Star), Law & Order: C.I. (Guest Star), Student Affairs (Series Regular), NYPD Blue (Guest Star)
Brianna Horne (Laurey) Brianna, a South Jersey native, is a recent Wagner College graduate with a B.A. in Theatre Performance. Regional: The Threepenny Opera (Arden Theatre), Johnny Baseball and Best of Both Worlds (American Repertory Theatre), All Shook Up (Ogunquit Playhouse); Once On This Island (Hangar Theatre), AIDA (TRIArts Sharon Playhouse), In Sun and Snow (Walnut Street Theatre). Thanks to the team at Cathy Parker Management. www.briannahorne.net

 

Sheila Jones (Ellen /Ensemble) Back in high school, Sheila Jones swore she’d never do Oklahoma! again and her teacher said, “Never say never.” Truer words were never spoken. Now, she is beyond thrilled to be making her PCS debut inOklahoma!. She attended Florida State University and received a BFA in Music Theatre then left for Hong Kong to doFestival of the Lion King (Nala). She recently made her New York City debut in a one act called It’s Gonna Work Out Fine. Favorite credits include Once on This Island (Ti Moune), Cats (Demeter), Ragtime (Sarah), and Hair (Ensemble). She would like to thank the Lord, family, and friends for being her rock! YAY!
Don Kenneth Mason (Fred/Dream Curly/Ensemble) Don Kenneth Mason is delighted to make his Portland Center Stage debut. Previously theater roles include: Guys and Dolls (Rusty Charlie), Camelot (Sir Sagramore), Kiss Me Kate (Paul), Once on This Island (Papa Ge u/s),42nd Street (Andy u/s). Don has also appeared at Radio City Musical Hall in Christmas Across America and at the Tokyo Disney Resort. Proud (new!) member of Actors’ Equity.

 

Joy Lynn Matthews-Jacobs (Aunt Eller) Oh so happy to be here in beautiful Portland! Most recently spreadin’ rhythm round in Ain’t Misbehavin’ and before that featured in Kurt Weil’s Lost in the Stars for the Encores series at New York City Center. Broadway: The Music Man, Marie ChristineFirst National Tours: RagtimeShow Boat. Off Broadway: Created the role of Power Woman in Menopause the MusicalManhattan Theater Club’sOur Leading LadyCreated the role of Delia inAsylum-The Strange Case of Mary Lincoln. Regional:Bloody Mary in South Pacific,Sylvia in All Shook Up, Wanda in CrownsReno Sweeney inAnything Goes, Lady Thiang in The King & I, Aldonza in Man of La Manchato name a very few. Opera: Carmen. Film: Menace II Society. Soloist with symphonies great and small all across the country.
Justin Lee Miller (Jud Fry) Justin is thrilled to be making his Portland Center Stage debut inOklahoma!  He recently finished long runs in both the National Tour and Las Vegas companies of The Phantom of the Opera.   This spring he played Jake in Porgy and Bess at Atlanta Opera.  He has performed in a dozen productions of Porgy and Bess across Europe and North America.  Justin has appeared in various productions with Los Angeles Opera, Lyric Opera Chicago, Opera-Comique Paris, the Bard Music Festival, Sarasota Symphony, Nashville Symphony, New York City Center Encores!, North Shore Music Theater, Weston Playhouse, Fulton Opera House, and the Paper Mill Playhouse.  He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Musical Theater department, and a proud member of both Actors Equity and AGMA, the trade unions of professional stage artists.
Jarran Muse (Will Parker) Jarran is grateful to be a part of this company of Oklahoma!, and thrilled to make his debut at Portland Center Stage. Born in New Jersey, he has always had a fascination with the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, so he is even more excited to get out and explore the Oregon Trails! Broadway/NYC: Irving Berlin’s White Christmas(Jimmy), Dreamgirls (Frank); National/International Tours: Dreamgirls (Curtis & CC u/s), Hairspray (Seaweed u/s),42nd Street (Billy Lawlor); Regional: My One and Only25th Annual…Spelling BeeJoseph…Dreamcoat,  Crazy For You,The WizThe Wild Party. Cruise Ships: Norwegian Cruise Line (Singer/Dancer). Thanks to God for this blessing, to Chris for the opportunity, to KSR for the appointment, and to my family for their continued support and LOVE!” Proud AEA member. Twitter @jarranmuse
Jonathan Raviv (Ali Hakim/Fight Captain) This is Jonathan’s Portland Center Stage debut. Recent credits include Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul at the Curious Theater and Mary Zimmerman’s Arabian Nights at Berkeley Rep. Regional credits: Inana and Eelwax Jesus at the Contemporary American Theater Festival, The Light in the Piazza at Arena Stage, Weston Playhouse and The Goodman Theater; The Chosen at Writers’ Theatre; Lady Madeline at Steppenwolf Theatre;Brigadoon at The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire; Fiddler on the Roof at Drury Lane Oakbrook; Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party at The Lakeshore Theatre. New York acting credits: The Persians at the APAP Conference; A Diner, A Shinerat American Globe and Hello My Name Is… at Theatre Row. Jonathan would like to thank Chris and the rest of the creative team for this opportunity. He would also like to thank his family for their love and support.
Tyrone Roberson (Cord Elam/Ensemble) Tyrone Roberson is a versatile artist who has participated in wide array of idioms including opera, musical theater, concerts, recordings and film.  In 2002, Tyrone performed Porgy & Bess in a historic “Live from Lincoln Center” broadcast with the New York City Opera. He also sang the role of Jake with the Living Arts World Tour of Porgy and Bess. In 2007, Tyrone returned to New York City Opera to perform their new production of  Margaret Garner. Tyrone has been in various musical theater productions such as: Le Hot Blu, Scrooge: The Musical, and Blues in the Subway. Tyrone has toured extensively throughout Europe and South America performing Negro Spirituals, jazz and gospel music.  Tyrone recently gave presentations of Negro Spirituals at College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA and Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, MA.  Tyrone is currently working on his first screenplay and series of musicals.  Tyrone feels blessed to be a part of Portland Center Stage’s ground-breakingOklahoma!
Troy Valjean Rucker (Ike Skidmore) Select NY/Regional: Zanna, Don’t!Elegies for Angels…365 Days/365 PlaysShow BoatRagtimeSouth PacificAngels In America (PAGE Award Nomination); L’Histoire du SoldatBabes In Toyland. National/European Tours: Jesus Christ SuperstarInternational Symphony Orchestra. Opera/Concerts: New York City Opera; Carnegie Hall; Lincoln Center; Kennedy Center; Aretha Franklin with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. TV/Commercials: Preston on “Drama Queenz” (web series), History Channel, NBC, UPN, Ford Motor Company. www.TroyValjeanRucker.com
Kemba Anika Shannon (Dream Laurey/Ensemble) Kemba is a native of Baltimore and began dancing at the age of five. Theater credits include: The Lion King (Los Angeles), The Color Purple (Broadway), Cirque du Soliel (Zummanity), AIDAand FAME: The Musical (European Tour). Back-up dance credits include: Madonna (Drowned World Tour), Pink (World Tour), Celine Dion (Taking Chances World Tour), Kanye West, Fantasia, Rhianna (Nike Rock Star Workout). TV credits include: American DreamMTV Music Awards, World Music Awards, The Grammy Awards, and othersKemba received a BFA from Towson University and has trained with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Martha Graham School, Broadway Dance Center, The Edge, Lula Washington and others.
Marlene Villafane (Vivian/Ensemble) Marlene made her debut in Aaron Davis Hall with the Harlem School of the Arts. A native New Yorker, she’s thrilled to be in Portland Center Stage’s Oklahoma!. She’s a La Guardia High School of Music and Art graduate; BM/MM, Manhattan School of Music. International: Porgy and Bess (Clara); Hal Prince’s Show Boat(Julie); National and Regional: J.C. Gonzalez’s Warm (Lori) Stephen Schwartz director; Unmitigated Truth(Lilly/Leading Lady) Melvin Van Peebles’ Line 13th St (Molly); Pushcart Players’ Stone Soup and other Stories, Peter and the Wolf (Wolf), Cuentos del Arbol (Woman 2). She also performs for senior citizen centers with the group Vocal Ease. TV: Telemundo Que le Parece?; NBC’s Today’s Show. Winner of the IMTA Grand Prize for Best Vocalist of 2009. She’s currently writing a musical as well. Thanks God, parents, family, Al, Harriet Bass, Chris Coleman, Joel Ferrell and the cast!

Marisha Wallace (Ado Annie Carnes) Marisha is excited to be returning to PCS. She was last seen in One Night with Janis Joplin. Marisha hails from Goldsboro, NC. She received a BFA in Musical Theatre and Theatre Education at East Carolina University. She is a winner of the North Carolina Singing Sensation competition and a finalist in the Broadway’s Next Big Star competition. Theatre credits include: Dreamgirls (Effie); Chicago (Mama Morton); RENT(Joanne); Smokey Joe’s Cafe (BJ); Hair (Dionne); Wedding Singer (Holly); Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Doatsey Mae/Jewel). Marisha would like to thank God for all her blessings and her Mom, family and friends for all of their support and love. Many thanks to Chris Coleman and the production team for this opportunity. And finally to my honey Dom, I love you with all my heart!
Timothy Ware (Slim/Ensemble) Timothy Ware is proud to join Oklahoma! at Portland Center Stage. Some of his credits include: Broadway National Tours: Mamma Mia! (Sky), Mamma Mia! Las Vegas (Eddie), Jesus Christ Superstar andDreamgirls. Regional: The Fantasticks (Arena Stage), RENT (Connecticut Rep. Theatre), Godspell (Syracuse Stage), The Colored Museum (Crossroads Theatre), Purlie (Pasadena Playhouse/ Goodman Theatre), and Like Jazz (Mark Taper Forum). Studied acting at Alabama State University (BA) and UCLA’s MFA program. This is for Skye, Summer and Barry.