Oklahoma Marks Director’s 150th Show

Laurie VanderPol repeats first production to a celebrate special anniversary


Jolie Barnhart

Mikaela Schmitt, Editor-in-Chief

The theater department recently finished their annual winter mainstage musical, Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s,Oklahoma. This show marked a special milestone in director Laurie VanderPol’s career, becoming her 150th show she has directed. VanderPol directed at countless middle schools, high schools and community theatres, spending notable time with the Summer Youth Theatre in Lawrence, Kansas, Lawrence High School and BV West.

“Oklahoma” was the first musical VanderPol ever directed at BV West, thus becoming the perfect option for her 150th show. Each production of Oklahoma, and every show, poses unique challenges and provides opportunities for VanderPol to grow as a director.

VanderPol asked Danae DeShazer to help direct a number in the show. DeShazer played Laurey in BV West’s first production in 2004, creating another connection throughout the generations.

VanderPol was accompanied by Kimberly Modelski, who vocal directed and choreographed the show. This is Modelski’s 8th show at BV West, and therefore her first time doing Oklahoma. Other staff members on the show included Andrew Book (Orchestra director), Chris Frye (Set designer), Emily Williams (Technical director) and Penny Stahly (Costumer).

Senior Josie Hansen and junior Cap Kelly played the leads Laurey and Curly, respectively. This was both Hansen’s and Kelly’s first opportunity to play a lead in the musical.

“Working with [VanderPol] was a trip; she really pushed me to the best I could be as an actor and I appreciate her for that,” Hansen said. “I learned what dedication really meant and that it’s not a bad thing to care and put work into something.”

Auditions for their next mainstage production, Letters to Sala, begin on Wed., Feb. 21.