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New Laurey for Arena's "Oklahoma!"

Less than a week into preview performances of "Oklahoma!"--the production that marks the return of Arena Stage to its Southwest Washington campus after a $135 million makeover-- one of its lead actresses has had to withdraw.

Arena officials said in a statement that because of "pressing personal matters," Valisia LeKae has left director Molly Smith's production. LeKae had been playing the central role of Laurey, who in the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical falls in love with Curly. As a result, the preview performance scheduled for Tues., Oct. 26 has been canceled, with shows resuming on Wed. Oct. 27.

The new Laurey, Arena said, is Eleasha Gamble, whose musical abilities have been showcased numerous times in Washington shows, most recently in Signature Theatre's revival of "Chess."

"Oklahoma!" has its official press opening on Nov. 4.

By Peter Marks  | October 25, 2010; 5:57 PM ET
Categories:  Peter Marks, Theater  | Tags:  Oklahoma Arena Stage Laurey  
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