||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (April 2009)|
July 15, 1917|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||August 13, 2012
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Occupation||Musical theatre, film and television actress|
Roberts initially auditioned for the role of Ado Annie in the original Broadway production of Oklahoma! (which eventually went to Celeste Holm), but the show's librettist Oscar Hammerstein cast her as the female lead, Laurey. At the time of her death she was one of four surviving cast members of the original 1943 opening night production of Oklahoma! and the only one who played a principal role (Celeste Holm died several weeks earlier), along with George S. Irving, Marc Platt, and Bambi Linn. Roberts subsequently starred as Sara Longstreet on Broadway in the musical High Button Shoes.
Recently, Ms. Roberts conducted workshops on singing and voice projection. In 2011 she was honored by the University of North Carolina's School of the Arts while attending their replica production of the original Oklahoma!
She was in retirement for many years on Long Island, New York, when she appeared as Heidi Schiller in the 2001 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. Over the years she was seen in documentaries about Oscar Hammerstein II, George Abbott and in the film Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There.
On August 13, 2012, Roberts died of congestive heart failure, aged 95, according to her son. Celeste Holm, who played Ado Annie in the same original production of Oklahoma!, had recently predeceased Roberts, also at age 95.
- Sunny River - 1941-1942
- Oklahoma! - 1943-1945
- Marinka - 1945
- Are You With It? - 1945-1946
- High Button Shoes - 1947-1949 (preceded by Nanette Fabray)
- Follies - 2001
- "Joan Roberts, Original Laurey in Oklahoma!, Has Died". Theatermania.com. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
- Jones, Kenneth. "Joan Roberts, the Soprano Who Gave Voice to Laurey in Oklahoma!, Dead at 95". PlayBill.com. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
- Joan Roberts at the Internet Movie Database
- Joan Roberts at the Internet Broadway Database
- Joan Roberts Papers, 1966-1993, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
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