Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin'
First making its bow on the Great White Way in 1943, Rodgers and Hammerstein's evergreen classic Oklahoma! whisked early audiences away from the stark realities of World War II and offered up a song-filled optimism and unity. Reclaiming its joyous melodies, can-do spirit and classic plot, New York-based director Daniel Fish revived the song-and-dance spectacular in his home city in early 2019, earning eight Tony Award nominations, including Best Revival Of A Musical, for its stripped back, Country-western treatment of the original score and vivid, darker depiction of the Wild West reflected in its naturalistic staging and style.
After blowing audiences away on Broadway, the production is set to light up the rest of North America on a hotly anticipated national tour (its first stop is fittingly Oklahoma City's Civic Center Music Hall). A stunning re-imagining that keeps the text and score in tact but shakes them up and examines them through the lens of the 21st century, Fish's revelatory iteration has received much critical acclaim for its bold interpretation of the darkness that lurks beneath the musical's sunny surface. With the music stripped of its original Broadway brass, familiar melodies and harmonies are given greater authenticity by a seven-piece string orchestra and tight vocal arrangements by music director Nathan Koci.
What Is Oklahoma! About?
A 12 member ensemble shines a new light on Oklahoma's corn-fed romantic triangles, naturally tapping into contemporary issues of gun violence, sexual politics and class-based discrimination. Still set in the an Oklahoma Territory on the verge of statehood in the early 1900s, it follows what seems like the simple trials and tribulations of cocksure cowboy Curly and broody farmhand Jud, who vie for the affections of the enchanting farm girl Laurey whilst angling to win her as a date at a local party. But within its lighthearted exterior, sex and violence bubble to boiling point and Fish artfully sets them free in a whirlwind, blood-drenched climax that makes Game of Thrones look tame.