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The Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival is Back and Better Than Ever

The Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival is Back and Better Than Ever

The Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival is celebrating its 43rd birthday this year! With spectacular shows such as HAMLET ESP and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, this theatrical experience will be one the whole family will never forget.

Producing Director Riley Risso Coker is once again taking the helm this season bringing stories that center the power of words. Under her direction, HAMLET ESP opens this weekend! HAMLET ESP is a remarkable adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that is rooted in OSF history. This adaptation was written by Paul Baker who served as a friend and mentor to Molly Risso, the founder of the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival. This version of the play explores the inner workings of Hamlet's mind and reveals another perspective on Shakespeare's classic tale. This production is guaranteed to be as magnificent as audiences have come to expect from OSF! You can come see it at Montgomery Auditorium playing June 17th-18th.

Young Actors Studio is in the midst of rehearsing the musical, THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, directed by Aaron Umsted with Deborah Clements as vocal director and Jennifer Rizzo as the choreographer. This show is a hilarious story of six teens competing in an intense spelling bee competition. These characters will spell their way into audiences' minds and sing from their hearts’ as they battle to win the once-in-a-lifetime spelling bee and receive a juice box if they lose. The show runs June 22nd-23rd in the Southeastern Fine Arts Recital Hall.

The OSF acclaimed Children’s Theatre production of FROZEN JR. rehearsals are also underway with the sounds of laughter and creativity reverberating throughout the historic Montgomery Auditorium. An astoundingly talented creative staff has formed to bring this beloved show to life. Assistant Director, Jenna Paige Hild said, “It is my dream to be a Children’s Theatre Director one day.” Thanks to the opportunity this festival provides, Jenna is now getting her first chance to make dream a reality.. Back for their 11th and 22nd year, Rebecca Walters and Julie Henderson are part of the creative team as Music Director and Choreographer. Riley, Rebecca, and Julie have been waiting three years for this children’s theatre production and they are beyond ecstatic that the opportunity is finally here!

Closing out the season is a tale as old as time, DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST performing July 1st through July 3rd. This production will feature all your favorite characters from the classic film and the songs we’ve all come to fall in love with, including new songs written for the musical! Over 25 actors will grace the stage singing, dancing, flipping, and even performing some onstage Disney magic! Directed by Riley, this production will be under the music direction of Dr. Jeremy Blackwood as vocal director. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST will feature stars from throughout the country and some Durant natives including the gifted husband and wife duo Jenna Paige Hild and Benjamin Hild playing Belle and the Beast.

OSF is truly a story of love and family as Producing Director Riley is carrying the torch that was passed onto her by her late mother Molly Risso, founder of OSF. Molly’s vision of creating a bigger audience is still happening today. Molly believed that children’s theatre should be an emphasis of the company because creating a love for theatre at a young age gives each individual the tools to help them succeed in life. The vision of Molly is still being met as over a hundred kids are participating in DISNEY’S FROZEN JR. this summer. There are also plenty of young actors in the show DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, including Kamdyn Smith, who will be playing the role of Chip.

With five different shows to work on at the same time, it takes a village of people to get the job done. Over 70 artists have come together to make this season an astonishing contribution to the Durant community. OSF is unique in that it features many professional talents as well as actors getting their first taste of the dedication, rigor, and joy of professional theatre.

You too have a role to play this season by attending one of our shows. Visit our website at Tickets are for sale at our Box Office located at 1st Ave North of University Blvd. and South of Magnolia Ave, or you can call (580) 745-2696 and order your tickets today. For more information, visit

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