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Saturday, 28 September 2019

REVIEW: Oklahoma! – 2019 Broadway Cast Recording

For those of us not lucky enough to make it over to Broadway, our best insight into the delights on stage across the pond are the cast recordings released. This year, the hottest show in town happens to be a show written in 1943 and reborn in 2019, Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!which has been entirely reimagined to great acclaim. Let’s not forget that in its day, the show’s original production was considered groundbreaking, so it seems fitting that some 76 or so years later, Daniel Fish’s revival is being seen so as well. With the whole show re orchestrated to exploit the country and western root of the plot, it brings a refreshing new atmosphere to the show - and just you wait for the Dream Ballet!

So we sat down and listened to the cast album, imagining ourselves in the Circle in the Square Theater, NYC. 

Almost everyone is familiar with the opening of Oklahoma!, whether by choice or not, we all know Curly’s famous first words of “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning” and we have come to expect them accompanied by lush traditional orchestration but Daniel Fish’s production eschews tradition wherever possible whilst still maintaining the glorious essence of Oklahoma!. Damon Daunno’s Curly is accompanied by a simple cowboy’s guitar and this simplicity in the orchestration (in terms of number of instruments at least) is continued throughout much of the show. “The Surrey With The Fringe On Top” has rarely sounded more like a love song, and the overall impact of it finds a perfect balance between a 2019 country number and a classic musical theatre tune. 
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Friday, 31 August 2018

REVIEW: Oklahoma! at the Gordon Craig Theatre


“Oklahoma!” was written in 1943 and celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. It is part of an extraordinary canon of work by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II which includes the “King and I”, so brilliantly recently staged at the Palladium, “South Pacific”, “Sound of Music”, and “Carousel “. They have some of the best scores ever written and you go into the theatre humming their famous tunes but “Oklahoma! “ is the most heavily rooted in a past American culture set in 1906 at the birth of the state of Oklahoma.

You are reminded immediately during the overture of the shows credentials. The stage is beautifully set with Aunt Eller’s wooden house stage right, the back of Jud Fry’s smokehouse stage left and centre stage the skyline dominated by a prairie wind pump and a large blue moon. As the 16 piece band plays the Overture’s wonderful tunes the light changes and we see the sun rise over the farmyard. It is a delightful scene setter by lighting designer Pete Kramer and sets from Scenic Projects. It leads seamlessly into the opening number “Oh, what a beautiful morning “as Curley enters. Joshua Gannon has a rich clear voice with excellent diction and delivers every one of his numbers wonderfully. He follows this up with two of the other great numbers in the show, “Surrey with a fringe on top” and “People will say we are in love” opposite a charming Carrie Sutton as Laurey.
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