IT MAY be gloomy and raining outside but there’s nothing but sunshine in the rehearsal rooms of Longwood Amateur Operatic Society.

The society’s team of singers, dancers and directors have rolled up their sleeves and are already working hard on their next big show.

And it is a musical that’s guaranteed to get people smiling again after our washout summer.

Oklahoma, the first musical written by the block-busting team of Rodgers and Hammerstein, is a show to get everyone singing. It opens at the Lawrence Batley Theatre on October 2.

The show was a smash hit when it first appeared in the Forties in America and when it crossed the Atlantic in a production by then starring Howard Keel, British audiences found it just as irresistible.

Since then, it’s remained a favourite with performers and audiences. And why not?

Who can resist tunes such as Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’, (if only!), People Will Say We’re In Love, Kansas City, The Surrey With The Fringe On Top and of course, the title song, Oklakoma.

Listen out too for Many A New Day, which for me, is a potential show-stopper.

Oklahoma has many fans because it weaves memorable tunes into a pair of romances particularly that of cowboy Curly McLain and head-strong farm girl Laurey Williams whose entanglement with the dark and disturbing farm hand, Jud Fry gives the show a powerful edge.

There’s bags for the Longwood team to get their teeth into and they are already doing just that with rehearsals under way in the experienced hands of director Jayne Davison with Neil Broadbent as her assistant.

Neil hasn’t forsaken the stage. He’s playing Will Parker opposite Hannah Bell as Ado Annie.

Caroline Robinson as musical director and Emma Binns as accompanist are the other two key elements of the production team.

On stage, they have a first rate line-up of principles though there is still time for any men out there who want to join the chorus of a happy society with a real family feel.

Dominic Moccia as Curly, Gemma Clarkson as Laurey and Martin Stead as Jud, play the love triangle at the heart of this show. They are all experienced performers and should bring just the right kind of musical magic to this super show.

This a company packed to the edges with talent. Look no further than Sharon Whitehead, here playing Aunt Eller, with Zoe Clarkson as Gertie Cummins, Craig Kelly as Ali Hakim, Bill O’Brien as Andrew Carnes and Bob Dickinson as Cord Elam.

There are many more weeks of rehearsal ahead but for Longwood’s performers, they are making their own sunshine.

Tickets from the LBT box office on 01484 430528 or online at