Wednesday, 28 September 2005
Oklahoma! The Production Company, Sept 28, 2005
Music by Richard Rodgers, Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein
Based on the play, Green Grow the Lilies by Lynn Riggs
The Production Company
State Theatre, Victorian Arts Centre, Sept 28 to Oct 1, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Sept 28
In 1943, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein changed the face of musical theatre with the invigorating production of Oklahoma!
It was the first musical play. Each song informed the story, the plot the music were cohesive.
Hammerstein adapted the book from Lynn Riggs unsuccessful rustic play, Green Grown the Lilies. He also wrote the lyrics and was joined in this, their first of many famous collaboration, by Richard Rodgers.
The show is thick with hit tunes. The title song, Okahoma!, is a rousing chorus by the company and possibly the most memorable which explains why Rodgers and Hammerstein changed their title to Oklahoma1 early in its run.
As the handsome cowboy, Curly, Ian Stenlake oozes charm and plays the role with an athletic and boyish seductiveness. His voice is resonant and true and his opening number, Oh What a Beautiful Morning, brought cheers from the audience.
He was joined in a jaunty and engaging rendition of The Surrey With The Fringe On Top, by Aunt Eller (Nancye Hayes) and Laurey (Lucy Durack).
Durack as Laurey, the object of both Curly and Jud Fry's attentions, is suitably pert and pretty with an attractive soprano. The duet between Laurey and Curly was a highlight.
The secondary love story between the fickle and silly Ado Annie and her beau, Will Parker, is played delightfully by Amanda Harrison and Christopher Parker.
Harrison captures the flightiness and spirit of Annie and sings with passion and humour. As Will, Parker is the good-hearted oaf.
Nancye Hayes holds the centre of the show together with Aunt Eller, the strong farming woman who is fiercely independent, protective and good-humoured.
Mitchell Butel takes the role of Ali Hakim, the roving pedlar, to new comic heights, playing him as a heavily accented Persian womaniser. His comic timing is impeccable and his passionate Persian goodbye is hilarious.
As the loutish villain, Jud Fry, James Millar gives the character some humanity and creates a tragic if not lovable creature. Millar's rich baritone makes Jud's song, Lonely Room poignant.
Terence O'Connell directs this concert version with a slick hand, keeping scene changes swift. Orchestra Victoria plays superbly under Guy Simpson and
Alana Scanlan's choreography is a feature in Laurey's dream ballet and the chorus number, Kansas City.
Even without all the bells and whistles, this concert Oklahoma! Does justice to a great musical.
By Kate Herbert
IAN STENLAKE Curly
CHRIS PARKER Will Parker
LUCY DURACK Laurey
JAMES MILLAR Jud Fry
AMANDA HARRISON Ado Annie
MITCHELL BUTEL Ali Hakim
NANCYE HAYES Aunt Eller
GARY DOWN Andrew Carnes
LOUISE BELL, NATALYA BOBENKO, GEMMA BROMLEY, REBECCA COLAFELLA, KATIE COOPER, BECK CORLEY, KENT GREEN, MATT GREEN, PETER HOSKING, MICHAEL LINDNER, AARON JACKSON MENDOZA, JOHN O'HARA, KURT PHELAN, ASHLEA PYKE, MELLE STEWART, ROBERT STURROCK, KATRINA TALBOT, SOPHIE VISKICH, STEPHEN WHEAT, MATTHEW WITHERS, DALLAS JAYS, THOMAS LACEY.
Director Terence O’Connell
Music Director Guy Simpson
Choreographer Alana Scanlan
Sets & Costumes Richard Jeziorny
Music by Richard Rodgers
Book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on the play Green Grow The Lilacs by Lynn Riggs
Musical numbers: “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin' ”, “The Surrey With The Fringe on Top”, “Kansas City”, “I Can't Say No”, “Many A New Day”, “It's a Scandal! It's An Outrage!”, “People Will Say We’re In Love”, “Pore Jud Is Daid”, “Lonely Room”, “Out Of My Dreams”, “The Farmer And The Cowman”, “All Er Nothin' ”, “Oklahoma”.
May 31, 1943 – May 29, 1948, St. James Theatre (2,212 performances)
May 29, 1951 – Jul 28, 1951, Broadway Theatre (100 performances)
Dec 13, 1979 – Aug 20, 1980, Palace Theatre (302 performances)
Mar 21, 2002 – Feb 23, 2003, Gershwin Theatre (413 performances)