Back in 1943, Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein opened their first musical collaboration, OKLAHOMA. The show was the first to integrate songs into a plot which changed the scene of theater; much like HAMILTON is doing today. OKLAHOMA takes place in 1903 on the plains. Curly is smitten with Laurey and is trying to convince her to attend the box social with him. Meanwhile, Ado Annie is torn between two men: a cowboy and a foreign peddler. Both women struggle to know what they want.
I’ve mentioned before that I grew up doing musical theater with my siblings. OKLAHOMA is actually one we participated in together and I played Aunt Eller. Yes, that is the older character which I happened to always be cast as! Anyways, I have a soft spot for the show due to being in it as well as the love for the catchy tunes and fun characters.
New Village Arts did a scaled down version to fit the personality and space of the theater. The costumes and set were simple and fine. However, I prefer a more boisterous cast for this particular musical. The shining moment for me was the duet between Curly and Jud on “Pore Jud is Daid”. Their voices together were impeccable.
My take on the show was it was good but overall nothing to write home about. I was not overly impressed by the casting but didn’t have distain either. Ado Annie played by Alexandra Slade had a very pretty voice. That’s not what I wanted to hear though. That role is so fun and she is supposed to be more ditzy and silly. On the other hand, Jillian Porter who played Vivian stood out to me. In the ensemble she was captivating without pulling too much attention; something you always hope for.
I know people may not agree with me because from what I heard the reviews of the show were fantastic (I do not read reviews before seeing shows). However, this version of the show wasn’t my favorite. That’s my two cents. Take it or leave it.
Rating: Not To Be
*Note: I absolutely loved BIG RIVER at New Village Arts. Read that review here: http://theplaybillcollector.com/musicals/big-river-at-new-village-arts