“It was a pretty special show,” said Cheryl Tousley, director of the upcoming show as well as the one that happened 18 years ago. “A lot of fun things happened with it.”
Not only did the production create special memories for the cast and community, but a few cast members have ongoing involvement in performance arts. Brandon and Shoni Graves, who now own the Opera House, met during the “Oklahoma!” production. In addition, Misty Taylor, a then-15-year-old from Harpster who played Laurey, was crowned Miss Idaho in 2002 and is now a radio personality at The River in Boise. Another cast member, Josh Crosby, spent time in Nashville pursuing a music career, Tousley said.
Tousley, who was teaching in Kooskia at the time and is now retired and living in Lewiston, has gotten frequent requests over the years from community members to do another show. The logistics of pulling off a typical show seemed to be an obstacle, but the idea struck her to do a reunion show depicting a behind-the-scenes look at the 1997 production.
“It was a concept that just seemed to work,” Tousley said.
She wrote two acts, the first set during auditions and the second set during rehearsals. Everyone is playing themselves, with the majority of original cast members participating in the two-hour show. Many of them still live in Kooskia, but of those who moved away, most are traveling back to participate in the show.
Compared with a typical show, the cast will have only a few days to rehearse, Tousley said. She sent out scripts early in the year, along with music, so that — at least in theory — everyone will be ready to go. But, she admitted, actors are notorious procrastinators and the show is likely to continue to develop once everyone ends up on the stage together again.
“It’s a way of coming home, but it’s also a way to touch base with this group all these years later,” Tousley said.
She added that it’s something people in the community are looking
“People in Kooskia are always supportive,” she said, “it’s their theater.”
If you go
WHAT: “Casting Oklahoma: An original production — a reunion”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. next Thursday, July 31, Aug. 1
WHERE: Kooskia Opera House, 011 S. Main St., Kooskia
COST: $12/person, purchase tickets at the door or in advance at Graves Green Thumb Nursery or by calling (208) 926-0094.