'Oklahoma' Comes Sweeping Down the Plain at Marriott Theatre
Is it possible to present a fresh, all new version of "Oklahoma," now celebrating its 75th anniversary? Under the direction of Artistic Director and Jeff Award-winner Aaron Thielen (She Loves Me, Spring Awakening), at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, the answer is a resounding yes! When it opened in 1943, Oklahoma became the first collaboration between Rogers and Hammerstein, who went on to produce such classics as Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music.
Now extended through June 10, Oklahoma tells the story of a family in the Western Indian Territory just after the turn of the 19th century. Farm girl Laurey, and her handsome cowboy, Curly, struggle together to start a brand new life in a brand new state. But Thielen has done something different with this production, adding a young Laurey, who is also an orphan to the story. This adds another richer, fuller dimension to the play.
Oklahoma! stars Jennie Sophia (Goodman Theatre: Brigadoon; Drury Lane Theatre: Les Misérables, Oliver) who is perfectly cast as as "Laurey," Brandon Springman is the handsome "Curly," with great vocals (Marriott Theatre: The Bridges of Madison County, She Loves Me, Singin' in the Rain), the stellar Susan Moniz as as "Aunt Eller" (Marriott Theatre: October Sky, La Cage aux Folles, Mary Poppins; Broadway/National Tours: Fun Home, Grease) and Shea Coffman as "Jud Fry" (Marriott Theatre: Ragtime, Newsies, The Bridges of Madison County). Michelle Lauto as "Ado Annie Carnes" is a stand-out with the powerful voice and high energy to enthrall the audience. But it's Evan Tyrone Martin as the sneaky peddler "Ali Hakim" who steals the show whenever he's on stage.
As always, the bright, colorful costumes are a delight and the high energy dancing will take your breath away. Oklahoma is choreographed by Jeff Award nominee Alex Sanchez (Marriott Theatre: Newsies, Evita, On the Town, Mary Poppins) and Musical Direction and orchestrations by Jeff Award winner Ryan T. Nelson.