The Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! is taking action toward reducing gun violence.
The production announced it would donate money to help destroy illegal guns circulating on the streets––money equivalent to the number of gun props used on stage and in decorations, in fact.
The upcoming revival of "Oklahoma!" will be Broadway’s first partner in Hollywood’s Gun Neutral Initiative. https://t.co/89o4YkV9C8— James Sims (@James Sims)1548708905.0
Oklahoma! producer Eva Price says that the show will donate $10,000 for the more than 100 gun props used, telling CNN:
"People who are storytellers and are telling stories that depict guns should also take responsibility for helping with the gun violence epidemic and helping solving the gun violence epidemic in America."
Oklahoma! is the first Broadway production to go "gun neutral" in collaboration with Gun Neutral, an initiative launched last year by entertainment company Level Forward. The organization, according to its website, examines how "the portrayal of gun violence disproportionately impacts younger minds."
Productions that pledge to work with Level Forward will have a line-item budget for donating an amount of money for each gun shown.
As the website notes:
ADDING LINE ITEMS TO BUDGETS CAN TRIGGER HIGHER TIERS AND FEES WHICH CAN COMPLICATE PRODUCTION.
Gun Neutral is working with the unions to disqualify the Gun Neutral line item from tier designation.
Adrienne Becker, Level Forward's CEO, says the role of entertainment companies in changing the conversation surrounding gun violence is a vital one because storytelling produces "a powerful cultural currency that can be very valuable in changing the conversation."
Young people today, high school kids mostly, who seem to be on the front lines of the gun violence epidemic, have spoken up and they've asked to be heard and they've asked to be helped. You have young people across the country who have certainly supported the entertainment industry and all of its formats over the years. They are imploring us to now stand alongside them and do something meaningful.
The money will go toward supporting firearms reduction and buyback programs, as well as investment in research or youth programs in areas with gun violence.
The news has received considerable praise. Though news outlets have circulated stories about the move in the wake of last week's terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 50 people dead, and the suicide of Sydney Aiello, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, the production made the pledge earlier this year.
Thank you @evaprice and ‘Oklahoma!’ For being Broadway’s First “Gun Neutral” Production As Musical Joins Hollywood… https://t.co/COCBOUH7kM— Daniel Franzese (@Daniel Franzese)1548714254.0
More amazing things happening on Broadway today. Oklahoma to donate funds to organizations fighting gun violence f… https://t.co/9Tj2e4fX7d— Ducking Up Broadway (@Ducking Up Broadway)1548710307.0
Went digging around the @OklahomaBway website trying to find any affordable tickets (no dice) but I did spot this:… https://t.co/vUXCKuHFRE— Nicole Savin (@Nicole Savin)1552664616.0
Love this. #GunReformNow #GunNeutral —Lauded ‘Oklahoma!’ Will Be Broadway’s First “Gun Neutral” Production https://t.co/OEO6vjGq9J— Bonnie Optekman (@Bonnie Optekman)1548773718.0
In the meantime, the show's been earning great reviews from critics as well as the general public, and opens on Broadway following its successful run at St. Ann's Warehouse.
Saw the revival of #Oklahoma on broadway tonight and LOVED it!! I thought the modern take on it was genius! https://t.co/wabGtIHRFz— Amy Grimm (@Amy Grimm)1553313975.0
I would apologize for basically turning into an Oklahoma/Hadestown/King Kong Broadway fan account, but we let Great… https://t.co/N91l5uh6E1— Henry Roman Tylinski (@Henry Roman Tylinski)1553369297.0
I can’t tell what’s happened in the last 6 hours (if anything new?) but Oklahoma on broadway just blew me away! I w… https://t.co/4JzX8UCYIx— Caroline Moss (@Caroline Moss)1553310930.0
Oklahoma! premieres Tuesday, with an opening night on April 7.