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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Students Play Big Role in World Premiere of Concert Version of 'Oklahoma!'

Symphony performs on stage

"Oh, what a beautiful morning" – it's just one of the many iconic songs attributed to the team of Rogers and Hammerstein. In their first collaboration, they created "Oklahoma!" It's romance, Western and a piece of legendary Americana that many can quote by heart.

Missouri State University students will perform in the world premiere concert version of "Oklahoma!" alongside the Springfield Symphony this Nov. 9-10.

"The lines are going to be fully memorized. It's going to be fully acted. There's full scenes, even a little bit of dance," said Robert Westenberg, coordinator of the musical theatre program at MSU. "It's going to be somewhere in between a more formal concert presentation and a full blown production."

Westenberg, who directs the show, says the themes in Rodgers and Hammerstein's works are eternal.

"They deal with really hardcore issues, and yet, there is a overpowering sense of 'can do' spirit, 'things will work out' and 'love conquers all,'" he said. "I know in my bones that in 200 or 300 years, we're still going to be performing Rodgers and Hammerstein."

The production runs Nov. 9-10 at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.

For more information, visit

Tickets are available at

Nicki received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from Missouri State in marketing, in 2002 and 2004 respectively. After gaining experience in writing, marketing, special event planning, fundraising and public relations, she returned to the university to work in the office of strategic communication. There she tells the university’s story by sharing the stories of individuals at Missouri State.
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