PICKSINSIX Review: OKLAHOMA!
'OKLAHOMA!' ONE GOODBYE IS NEVER ENOUGH.
Right up front … the rollicking production of OKLAHOMA! now playing at Marriott Theatre through June 24th corrals an energized cast in a toe-tapping musical masterpiece. You may want to come again and bring your friends. Like Ali Haxim says: "One goodbye is never enough!”
Captivating performances ... the 75th-anniversary production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first musical OKLAHOMA!, based on Lynn Riggs 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs, is directed by Lead Artistic Director Aaron Thielen with choreography by Alex Sanchez and music direction and orchestrations by Ryan T. Nelson. The captivating performances and silky chemistry of Jennie Sophia (Laurey) and Brandon Springman(Curly) lead a multi-talented ensemble who sing and dance up a prairie dust storm all night long.
Nifty roping …There are no cattle standing like statues in Theilson’s expertly staged production-in-the-round, a particularly challenging feat for a sizable cast that uses the entire expansive theatre – including massive plains projections on a canvas envelope and post & beam rigging - to create the perfect atmosphere for farmer and cowman alike. This approach paves the way for the show to change pace on the fly, none more so than early on when Aaron Umsted (Will Parker) stops the show with some nifty roping while leading the company in “Kansas City”.
Who Stands out ... Aunt Eller, delightfully played by Susan Moniz, oversees the developing courtship of Laurey and Curly and the intrusions of the sinister Jud (a fine turn for Shea Coffman) at the center of this classic story. On the fringe, there is Ado Annie, a charming role for the versatile Michelle Lauto, whose suitors include Umsted’s bumbling Parker and Evan Tyrone Martin, a showcase performance as Ali Haxim.
Watch and Wait for … Springman’s “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’”… Umsted’s terrific “Kansas City”… Lauto’s “I Cain’t Say No” … Sophia’s “Many A New Day”... Sophia and Springman’s “People Will Say We’re in Love” …“The Farmer and the Cowman” … “Out of My Dreams – Ballet” ... and, of course, “Oklahoma!”
Cain’t Say No … Marriott Theatre's fine reputation for mounting challenging and exciting musical theatre in the round is on full display, enhanced by state-of-the-art projections, lighting, sound, imaginative scenic elements, exquisite costumes and a seasoned professional cast. With all this and a classic Rodgers & Hammerstein score - expertly served up eight times a week by the superb musical supervisor and conductor Patti Garwood - you just “Cain’t Say No” to OKLAHOMA!