A short time ago I had the pleasure to seeing the Prince William Little Theatre’s production of Oklahoma. Sadly, the day after the performance I attended, I became very ill and had to delay my review for a time. I want to thank PWLT for their patience and understanding, caring for my health above all. Nevertheless, I promised PWLT a review and I shall give them, despite the run of the show being concluded.
As many know, Oklahoma was created by Rodgers and Hammerstein in 1943. This show follows several different relationships just inside the Oklahoma Territory. Most notable the show follows the relationship between Curly and Laurey, as they desire a relationship despite a seemingly dangerous man, Jud Fry, also having an interest in Laurey. There is also the relationship between Will Parker, a young country boy, and his love Ado Annie, who also has other suitors around town. Major conflict spurns from the competition between Jud and Curly for Laurey’s affection.
I’ll be the first to say that I usually try to avoid old Broadway as the shows and performances often seem dishonest and cheesy. However, I actually thoroughly enjoyed this show. It was entertaining and the direction added enough depth to really keep the audience engaged, despite some slows sections of the score. Aaron Verchot-Ware took on the role of Curly and did a fantastic job. The role of Laurey was played by Abbie Desrosiers, who had perfect chemistry with Aaron, making the audience really care for her struggles and conflicts throughout the show. Many people can sing Rodgers and Hammerstein, but few truly embody their old school style, Desrosiers is definitely the latter. His vocals were lovely and he truly seemed engaged in the story, despite a low energy matinee crown. Nick MacFarlane had enough energy for the whole cast, never delivering a dull moment. Whether singing, dancing, or just sauntering around on stage, he gave all he had to the role of Will parker. Ariel Friendly also gave a very entertaining performance as Ado Annie, delivering some of the biggest laughs of the day. I would have to say that the star of this production would be Jay Tilley as Jud Fry, delivering the best song and scenes of the show. He really was able to add so many layers and levels of depth to a character that could easily just be directed as “the bad guy”. “Lonely Room” really brought the house down and was easily the best part of the show.
This production was directed by Susy Moorstein, who really spent time developing these characters, which usually appear flat and static. Music from the band is always lovely with the PWLT, this time was no exception. Congrats to Veronica Sharpe on that. Choreography, delivered by Melanie Marie McGuin, was also subtle yet affective in advancing the show.
Once again, thanks to PWLT for their understanding of my situation and congrats to all on a fantastic run. All involved should be proud.
Photo creds - Mark Moorstein