The Guys & Gals of 'Oklahoma!' at Paper Mill
Yippee-Yai! Yippee-Yai! On Sunday, September 21, Paper Mill Playhouse -- one of the nation's most respected and beloved regional theatres -- celebrated its Platinum 70th Anniversary by kick-starting its season with the American classic, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! directed by favorite James Brennan with choreography by Peggy Hickey.
Filled with hootin'-n-hollerin', Oklahoma! (1943) tells of the timeless love-story between a lithe and witty farm girl and a handsome cowboy, amidst a high-spirited rivalry between local farmers and cowmen. The soaring score includes wonderful standards "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning," "Surrey with the Fringe On Top" and "People Will Say We're In Love."
The doe-eyed Brynn O'Malley (Laurey) last graced the Paper Mill stage in Meet Me in St. Louis (2007). She recently appeared in the Sunday in the Park with George Broadway revival; other Bway credits include Hairspray and Beauty and the Beast...
Eugene Lovendusky: You were beautiful tonight. Paper Mill saw you not long ago in Meet Me in St. Louis, where you were carried-off in a trolley... And tonight, you’re carried off in a surrey! You’re building quite a reputation of grand exits!
Brynn O'Malley: Apparently! The first job I had a Paper Mill was Baby, and we had a bed that was possessed, which would actually move around the stage. It was in the early days of wi-fi, and people were worried. It started to move on its own. I’m getting used to large mechanical objects moving me!
Eugene: How’s it feel to be back at Paper Mill?
Brynn: It’s a home away from home. It’s such a special theatre to work at. I’m glad it’s still here. My first real, nice-paying professional gig after moving to New York was Baby at Paper Mill. It was very humbling to be playing a lead during Meet Me in St. Louis. I thought: “Wow! I was here before as an understudy in the ensemble!” I was working with Carolee Carmello, LaChanze, Chad Kimball, Michael Rupert and Norm Lewis. It was amazing. To be back here playing this part – it’s unexpected and lovely.
Eugene: What’s your history with Laurey?
Brynn: I played Laurey my senior-year in high school... It’s interesting to come back to it. I had a few moments during this run where I thought back to the last time I played this role: I was planning on attending college for musical theatre… What was I going to do with my life? Would I be able to make it? Now, for me to have work where I’ve worked, and come back to one of the best regional theatres in the country… you learn a lot doing this role again. It’s definitely different being in your 20s playing a teenager like Laurey. You have a different understanding of what it is that she wants…
Eugene: You sing some gorgeous songs... and your duets with Adam!