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Oklahoma National Tour
Posted by Starlight 2004-02-04 14:46:15


Hello friends! It has been a while since I've posted but trust me...I've been keeping my eye on all of you. :) Unfortunately (or fortunately?) work has been keeping me very busy and I'm not able to keep up with theater news well enough to be able to post without fear that I'll be chastised for being misinformed. Although...I suppose there is always that risk! Anyways...last night I was able to see the National Tour of Oklahoma in San Antonio and just wanted to share some thoughts on the production.

First, the only other staged production of Oklahoma I've seen was by a community theater in Galveston, TX almost 15 years ago...so I really have nothing to compare this to other than the movie and what I've seen of the West End production film, which just didn't come across well.

This production had its highs and its lows. The singing was good for a touring cast. No one stood out as very weak, and there were a couple of performers that I thought were excellent, most notably Brandon Andrus as Curly and Tom Lucca as Jud.

The cast was very good in the "high" parts where there was lots of activity on stage, dancing, singing, etc. However, in the more dramatic or low-key scenes things really dragged. I'm still trying to decide if this was a casting or a directing issue...probably a combination of both. Even scenes like the proposal scene or the auction scene just seemed to take an energy dive.

The biggest disappointment, however, was the ballet/dream sequence. This is one of my favorite parts of the movie and it has been completely destroyed. The musical arrangement was completely different and therefore Agnes DeMille's beautiful choreography has been lost. The current sequence is just boring and ineffective. All the meaning of the ballet sequence was lost. My boyfriend, who has never been to a musical (I'm working on him!), turned to me at the beginning of intermission and asked "What was the point of that whole last part? It was so boring!" And I completely agreed. It could have been cut out and the show would have been no worse for the wear.

All that being said...I enjoyed myself a lot, but I definitely see why this was not successful on Broadway. I hadn't seen a musical since October though and I was feeling so deprived I would have sat through almost anything. (well...maybe not another production of Titanic...but I said "almost.")

re: Oklahoma National Tour
Posted by ckeaton 2004-02-04 15:27:23


A great review for the dreaded Equity vs. Non-Equity argument.

re: re: Oklahoma National Tour
Posted by Mister Matt 2004-02-04 15:46:05


I'm confused. Were you expecting the DeMille ballet? I thought the tour was based on the Stroman choreography. I don't think it really supports the Equity or Non-Equity argument at all. I've seen non-Equity tours (Miss Saigon) that were better than Equity tours (Kiss Me Kate).

re: re: re: Oklahoma National Tour
Posted by broadwayguy2 2004-02-04 15:49:13


I agree Matt.

re: re: re: re: Oklahoma National Tour
Posted by jrb_actor 2004-02-04 16:02:18


The heart of the non-Equity vs. Equity dispute isn't about quality. It CAN be, but it is not. It is about whether these performers and stage managers should have been paid more for their hard work, etc etc etc etc etc.

re: re: re: re: re: Oklahoma National Tour
Posted by Starlight 2004-02-04 16:48:41


Heck...I don't have much of an opinion on Equity v. NonEquity. I was just disappointed in the ballet. The Stroman choreography was nowhere near comparable and the musical arrangement was not either. I don't mind if things are substituted or changed in revivals but I think that the quality of the original production should remain. If I had been as blown away by the ballet as I am by the original I wouldn't be complaining. But the fact remains that it was a poor performance.

re: re: re: re: re: re: Oklahoma National Tour
Posted by broadwayguy2 2004-02-04 16:49:29


no.. you just want DeMille and are upset you got Stroman.. that is what it boils down to.

re: re: re: re: re: re: re: Oklahoma National Tour
Posted by Starlight 2004-02-04 16:58:45


Actually, my mom told me before the performance that it was the stroman ballet and though I was disappointed I was open to it because I know that she is supposed to be an incredible choreographer. The one thing that was cool about it is that much of the choreography was repeated later in the show during the wedding/fight sequence. That was a nice touch.

Honestly, I was mostly disappointed in the musical arrangement, and perhaps that ruined the entire thing for me. That is not Stroman's fault. For the music she was given, she did a good job. But it wasn't powerful enough to properly convey the significance of the dream sequence. With stronger music I'm sure there would have been stronger choreography.

re: re: re: re: re: re: re: re: Oklahoma National Tour
Posted by ckeaton 2004-02-04 17:11:00


Apparently, I'm an idiot.

re: re: re: re: re: re: re: re: re: Oklahoma National Tour
Posted by MusicMan 2004-02-04 20:20:17



My response can be found on the thread SUSAN STROMAN AT THE NYC BALLET.