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Review Roundup: North American Tour of OKLAHOMA! Takes the Stage; What Are the Critics Saying?


The tour began performances at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, MN on November 9, 2021

Review Roundup: North American Tour of OKLAHOMA! Takes the Stage; What Are the Critics Saying?

The North American tour of Rogers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! began performances at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, MN on November 9, 2021 and will continue to play over 25 cities during the 2021-2022 season including stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago and Nashville, and more.

The cast includes Sasha Hutchings (Oklahoma! Broadway, original Broadway cast of Hamilton) as Laurey Williams and Sean Grandillo (Deaf West's Spring Awakening) as Curly McLain, joined by Christopher Bannow (Oklahoma! Broadway) as Jud Fry, Sis ("Pose") as Ado Annie Carnes, Hennessy Winkler as Will Parker, Benj Mirman (Oklahoma! Bard Summerscape) as Ali Hakim, Barbara Walsh (Falsettos, Company, Oklahoma! National Tour in 1981) as Aunt Eller, Hannah Solow (The New One) as Gertie Cummings, Patrick Clanton (School of Rock, Sister Act tours) as Mike and Ugo Chukwu ("Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt") as Cord Elam. Mitch Tebo (Andrew Carnes) and Gabrielle Hamilton (Lead Dancer) also reprise their roles from the Broadway production. Gillian Hassert, Cameron Anika Hill, Hunter Hoffman, Scott Redmond, Gwynne Wood and Jordan Wynn join the cast as understudies.

Let's see what the critics are saying...

Orpheum Theatre - Minneapolis, MN

Megan Siemieniak, BroadwayWorld: The small company beautifully brings these themes to light. Sean Grandillo's (Curly) sultry take on "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top" could make anyone swoon. Sasha Hutchings brings deep complexity to Laurey's inner musings. Christopher Bannow pushes the audience to look at Jud Fry as more than a surly and lonely farm hand. and Sis absolutely stole the show as Ado Annie. Each member of the company brings something fresh to the table.

Joe Sarafolean, BroadwayWorld: If there was a glimmer of light (that wasn't shining from the rafters), it was Sis's portrayal of Ado Annie who brings down the house multiple times. Her rendition of, "I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No" was just the pick me up that the audience needed to try to soldier on through the first act. Her comedic timing definitely made for entertaining theatre but sadly it was not enough to carry the rest of the production.

Mary Aalgaard, Play Off The Page: All the songs are from the original score, but they sound different, especially the final number after the wedding scene/tragedy. The title song is not as jubilant as what we're used to. Marina and I agreed, we liked the show, but not the ending. It's a reimagined work, telling a more realistic story of America's violent past, with a wonderfully diverse cast. Some scenes are disturbing. Others are still humorous. Overall, it's entertaining and thoughtful. After reading other reviews, I wanted to see this adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein's 1943 musical, and I'm glad I did.

Arthur Dorman, Talkin' Broadway: Fish found ways to use this very same play-not a word of the original text is altered-to illuminate harsh truths about our nation's past, and used the same melodic songs to reveal the ways in which flaws imbedded in the characters are linked inextricably to flaws in the premise of their country. We enter the theater and are confronted by Laura Jellinek's stunning set, a generic looking community hall, with stark lighting and nondescript sandy-beige walls.

Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune: Once you see Fish's take, it's hard to imagine any other "Oklahoma!" This is, after all, a show that has always included: women being bid on at a picnic basket auction where the hijinks can't mask the stricken look on the auction items' faces; a town conspiring to cover up a murder, and a crude father outright selling his daughter. Fish explores all of that unpleasantness in this production, which has been rejiggered from the intimate Broadway staging and loses some danger and energy in the vast Orpheum.

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