Theatre Information

Thomas Edison High School Oklahoma!

By • May 3rd, 2012 • Category: Cappies, Virginia

“O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A, Oklahoma!” Thomas Edison High School performers would bring even a farmer and a cowman together in this iconic musical.

Oklahoma!, the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, is credited with being the model for the modern musical, incorporating both music and dance into the storyline. It opened on Broadway in 1943 and ran for 2,212 performances. Rodgers and Hammerstein received a Pulitzer Prize for this show in 1944. Film adaptations include the Gordon MacRae 1995 version and the Hugh Jackman 1999 version. The show takes place in the territory of Oklahoma in 1906. The story revolves around the cowboy Curly and his romance with the farm girl Laurey Williams. A side romance goes on with the cowboy Will Parker and flighty Ado Annie who has trouble saying no to men.

Both Curly (Purev Aslabaatar) and Laurey (Isabella Ness) handled iconic songs like “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” and “Many a New Day” with ease. Aslabaatar’s beautiful tone and powerful voice made his music very enjoyable. Ness’s lovely high soprano was perfectly suited to the character. Both performers had good chemistry and did a good job of not making the stage kisses awkward. These leads help anchor the show.

The leads were well backed by a good number of supporting performers. Will Parker (Harrison Riehle) brought great energy and character to the stage. He had great chemistry with Ado Annie and Ali Hakim and brought nice amounts of comedy to his scenes. Ado Annie (Juliette Cross) showed great comedic timing and charm, making the audience laugh with with all of her innocent flirting. Ali Hakim (Nathan Vasquez) brought great energy and character. He delivered his funny lines extremely well, and really nailed his “I won’t be tied down” character. Jud Fry (Brad Cooley) executed his dark character with a deep gravelly voice, feeling-less reactions, and even some extremely amusing lines.

One element of the show that stood out was props. Ali Hakim, a peddler, had his cart full of merchandise. The front opened to reveal jewelry displays, clothing racks opened from the side, and it even had a cute umbrella on the top. When opened, it made a poof sound adding a comedic touch to some of the peddler’s scenes. And what’s Oklahoma! without the surrey with the fringe on top? A full-sized working surrey complete with fringe was pulled on stage at the end of the show to take the happy couple away.

Some interesting special effects were used as well. Electronic screens were used as the background, sometimes displaying cornfields, a moon, or even a half-built barn. These backgrounds added to the feel of the scenes and made it easy to distinguish settings. Unfortunately, the backlight from the screens did light the scene changes, but the concept worked well.

Despite a few forgotten lines and lyrics, and a little lack of energy from some actors, the performers of Thomas Edison High School produced a fun and enjoyable production of Oklahoma! which you just “can’t say no” to.

by Madeleine Lucas of Oakcrest School

Photo Gallery

Purev Arslanbaatar (Curley), Maureen Iredell (Aunt Eller) Purev Arslanbaatar (Curley), Isabella Ness (Laurey)
Purev Arslanbaatar (Curley), Maureen Iredell (Aunt Eller)
Purev Arslanbaatar (Curley), Isabella Ness (Laurey)
Brad Cooley (Jud Fry), Purev Arslanbaatar (Curley) Harrison Riehle (Will Parker), Juliette Cross (Ado Annie)
Brad Cooley (Jud Fry), Purev Arslanbaatar (Curley)
Harrison Riehle (Will Parker), Juliette Cross (Ado Annie)

Photos by Bruce Wentzel

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