A note from the Director of “Oklahoma!”

Oklahoma! is a musical that is not only one of my all time favorites, it is near and dear to my heart.  Back in 2002, I was a 22 year old college student, coming home to visit my parents.  My mother was Directing a production of Oklahoma! at the Community Theater in my hometown.  Now I had been to many rehearsals to watch my mother at her craft… but this production just felt different.  I knew a lot of the main actors, but my older sister played “Dream Laurey”.  My sister, being an amazing ballet dancer, captivated me- and I was hooked.  This would be the last show my mother would Direct- she died of cancer in August of 2002.

Moving on, I never forgot about this show.  Although my life took many different directions, there never was a good time or a good venue to start my own Oklahoma! directing journey.  It wasn’t until 2020 that I really started pursuing Directing this landmark show at ASPI.  Well COVID hit, and then it would be multiple years of applying for rights before that Spring 2023 day when Debra Jolly called me to ask if I was sitting down- we had gotten the rights!  I cried with JOY!  

My vision for this show is very intentional.  Minimalism meets artistic visuals, dance meets song.  Less is more with me, and having the space to truly bring the iconic choreography of Agnes DeMille to life was very important to me.  With this being said- I could not have brought this vision to life without my amazing production crew.  My Assistant Director, Heather, who kept me grounded.  My Music Director Leah who was always so positive and the biggest cheerleader with the entire cast, my Scenic Designer Paula who amazed me with her talents every time I came to visit her every Thursday at the theater, and to my Tech Director Bill who understood that less is always more.  My AMAZING Stage Manager Alaina- who I absolutely loved seeing her growth every single rehearsal. But most important a BIG shoutout to my 2 amazing choreographers Lisa and Debra for bringing the DeMille essence to all the dance numbers. (we made it Lisa and Debra!)  My heart swells with gratitude.

I hope the audiences of ASPI are hooked, just like I was over 22 years ago, and I hope they leave the theater with a smile on their faces, joy in their hearts, humming and remembering all the iconic numbers in Oklahoma!

This one is for Mom.

Ali Carlson