NEPA Scene Staff

Music Box Dinner Playhouse sweeps audiences down to ‘Oklahoma!’ in Swoyersville March 3-5

Music Box Dinner Playhouse sweeps audiences down to ‘Oklahoma!’ in Swoyersville March 3-5
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From a press release:

When the Music Box Dinner Playhouse opened its doors in 1981, “Oklahoma!” was the first musical to grace its stage in Swoyersville. Fast forward to 2017, and Friday, March 3 through Sunday, March 5 will mark another closing weekend for this Rodgers and Hammerstein production.

“A lot of classic musicals tend to lean toward pure entertainment with no deep meaning,” said Dan Pittman, the musical’s director and choreographer. “‘Oklahoma!’ broke the mold at its time by giving you more developed characters.”

Set in the Oklahoma territory in the early 1900s, “Oklahoma!” tells the dual love stories of Curly McClain and Laurey Williams and Ado Annie and Will Parker. Sprinkled within and around those love stories is a cast of supporting characters that brings laughter, fear, levelheadedness, and even a tender moment or two.

And don’t forget the dancing. There’s plenty of that, including ballet, soft-shoe, line dancing, and waltz.

“I have a deep respect for classical American musical theatre, and ‘Oklahoma!’ is a staple of that genre,” said Jonathan Vojtko, who plays Will Parker in the production and served as the show’s lighting designer.

“Will’s charm and demeanor make him instantly a character that audiences love. His youth and energy give the show an extra boost of fun every time he is onstage.”

Vojtko is joined by Maureen Hozempa (Ado Annie), Eyanna Gruver (Laurey), Mike Wawrzynek (Curly), Dane Bower (Jud), Kalen Churcher (Aunt Eller), Tom Franko (Ali Hakim), Alison Scott (Gertie), and Nik Dyanick (Andrew Carnes) as the show’s principal characters. The entire cast includes a mix of faces familiar to the Music Box, as well as some who are new to the playhouse. Cast member range in age from 14 to 76.

“When you come to ‘Oklahoma!,’ be ready to laugh and just have a good time,” Hozempa said.

“The show is a classic, but it is timeless. You’ll probably know some of the songs but not know that they were from this show.”

“Oklahoma!” finishes its run at the Music Box (196 Hughes St., Swoyersville) this weekend. The show begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4. A special Sunday matinee performance will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 5. For all shows, audience members have the option of purchasing a dinner and show ticket or a “show only” ticket.

Doors open at 6 p.m., and the meal begins at 6:30 p.m. For matinees, doors open at 1 p.m., with the meal beginning at 1:30 p.m. Dinner tickets must be purchased in advance.

Show only tickets for “Oklahoma!” are $18. Buffet dinner and show tickets are $35. Both can be purchased by calling the Music Box box office at 570-283-2195. Additional ticket information is available at

For Hozempa, audience response has been one of her favorite aspects of the show.

“One of my favorite moments is when Will is trying to get a kiss from Annie. On a few occasions, there have been audience members who blurt out quietly, ‘Just kiss him already!’ It’s nice to know that the audience gets so into the show that they have these audible reactions.”

With a combination of catchy songs, an entertaining storyline, and plenty of dancing, “Oklahoma!” offers something for everything, Pittman said.

“People can expect to see an amazingly talented cast put on a fun show,” he explained. “When Music Box opened its doors, ‘Oklahoma!’ was the first musical they did. 35 years later, they wanted to take it back to the beginning. I feel that I put some fresh spins on a true classic.”