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Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival Celebrates 45 Years

Durant, Oklahoma – May 25, 2024 – The Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival (OSF) proudly announces its 45th anniversary season, showcasing an exciting lineup of performances that promise to enchant audiences of all ages. The festival kicks off on Thursday, May 30, at 7:00 pm with the opening show of The Spitfire Grill Musical at the Visual and Performing Arts Center in Durant, Oklahoma.

The Spitfire Grill Musical is a heartwarming and inspirational tale of redemption, friendship, and the healing power of community. Set in a small Wisconsin town, the story follows Percy, a young woman recently released from prison, who finds a job at the local diner. Her arrival sparks new hope and change in the town and its inhabitants, culminating in a transformative journey for all.

Upcoming Performances:

  • Company Cabaret: A lively, musical extravaganza featuring the talents of our festival cast, offering a night of song and dance that highlights the diverse skills of our performers.

  • Julius Caesar: Experience the timeless political drama by William Shakespeare, exploring themes of power, betrayal, and ambition in ancient Rome.

  • The Spongebob Musical: Youth Edition: Join SpongeBob and his friends in Bikini Bottom for a fun-filled, family-friendly adventure based on the beloved animated series.

  • Finding Nemo Jr.: Dive into the underwater world of Finding Nemo in this heartwarming adaptation that brings the beloved Pixar characters to life on stage.

Keeping The Dream Alive Since 1979

The festival's slogan, "Keeping The Dream Alive Since 1979," reflects the enduring legacy and vision of Molly Risso, the Artistic Director who founded OSF. Molly believed in the magic of theatre and built a strong theatre department at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Her creation of the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival brought professional theatre, student training, and educational opportunities to the community.

Today, Riley Risso Coker, Molly's daughter, keeps the dream alive as OSF's Producing Director. Riley Risso Coker is the Director of Theatre and coordinator of dance for theatre at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. With a BA in Theatre from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and an MFA in Acting from California State University, Riley has immersed herself in theatre arts. Her extensive experience includes roles such as Educational Director, Production Stage Manager, Choreographer, Administrative Assistant, and Director at OSF.

Riley continues her mother's legacy by ensuring the festival remains one of the top summer theatre festivals in America, making Durant and Southeastern Oklahoma State University a destination for tourists, professional and aspiring actors, and theatre artisans who, together, continue to make magic.

Support the "Fill Will" Campaign

In addition to this stellar lineup, OSF is thrilled to announce the launch of our "Fill Will" campaign. This initiative aims to raise $4,500 to provide scholarships for local students, fostering the next generation of artists and theatre enthusiasts. We invite our community to support this worthy cause and help us reach our goal.

How to Support and Attend:

Donations, tickets, and further information about the festival can be found at or by calling the box office at 580-745-2696. Your contributions to the Fill Will campaign will directly impact students in our area, providing them with invaluable opportunities to engage with the performing arts.

Join us in celebrating 45 years of the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival and immerse yourself in a season of captivating performances. We look forward to sharing the magic of theater with you!


Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival  

Box Office: 580-745-2696  


For more information, interviews, or press inquiries, please contact:  

Taylor Donaldson

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