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OKLAHOMA! Reviews

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OlBlueEyes
Broadway Legend
joined:5/31/10
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#26
Posted: 4/12/19 at 6:36pm

Saw this yesterday and I liked it. I really wasn't sure what to expect. Oklahoma has been sinking on my list of favorite R&H for a long time. I hated the way that the character of Judd was treated and had trouble understanding how a humanist like Hammerstein could have created this.

From reading about this production, I believe that I understand that Oscar had been overruled in his depiction of Judd by directors who had cast heavies like Rod Steiger and cut Judd's only humanizing moment, "Lonely Room."

I preferred the way that Judd was handled in this revival, as well as the principal characters just being different. Perhaps you have seen the two love numbers in Oklahoma and Carousel, "People Will Say We're in Love," and "If I Loved You" as examples of R&H where the love songs were conditional. "People will say We're in Love" and "If I Loved You." But the former is just pleasant while the latter is a musical theater classic. This Oklahoma broke away from the expected.

Still it is a little sorry to see that a good and original revival could have been more with just a few better directorial decisions. I doubt that pretty much anyone liked the ballet. The ending was powerful, but apart from its shock value I had trouble making sense of it.

It was good also to hear the much differently arranged score for a change. I'm not sure how well this production will be received. Golden Era musicals increasingly seem to need golden era audiences to sustain them. But at the very least I can hope that future directors will take some cues from this revival.

VintageSnarker
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joined:1/30/15
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#27
Posted: 4/12/19 at 6:57pm

Kad said: "TheQuibbler said: "IdinaBellFoster said: "The NY Post:Here, the West was won by a culture of violence and toxic masculinity —what fun!""

But, like...wasn’t it?
"

The Post is a right-wing tabloid and Johnny Oleksinski is not a legitimate reviewer (to get an idea of what kind of writer he is and who he's writing for, his biggest claim to fame is a piece for the Post about how much he hates his generation - he's in his late twenties). He's essentially just a Riedel aspirant.


"

Getting a review like that from the NY Post of all places is almost a selling point.

Niles Silvers
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joined:9/27/18
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#28
Posted: 4/13/19 at 2:26pm

Anyone who considers the NY Post a legitimate publication is a fool.  As someone else said, it is a far right wing hate rag, and this "reviewer" is a paid shill to push its agenda.  Just like online trolls, the best thing to do is ignore and block.  

Maybeel
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joined:4/13/19
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#29
Posted: 4/13/19 at 10:28pm
Has Rex Reed ever written a useful review? I can't remember one.
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poisonivy2
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#30
Posted: 4/13/19 at 11:54pm

Let me just say first of all that I loved this Oklahoma! revival. I wrote all about how much I loved it here:

https://humbledandoverwhelmed.blogspot.com/2019/04/oklahoma-violence-as-american-as-chili.html

However I don;t think reviews like Rex Reed's are "useless." This revival is not for everyone. When I went a couple people around me never came back after intermission. Rex Reed represents that contingent that thinks old fashioned musicals should be preserved as old fashioned musicals. Reviews like Ben Brantley's are useful but I do think he's so enthusiastic that people might go in with high expectations and get disappointed.

I mean I take my mom to musicals and when choosing between this and Kiss Me Kate I chose Kiss Me Kate because that revival has the old fashioned singing, dancing and comedy that my mom loves. Is KMK a "better" revival? No, but it's also less controversial. My mom btw is not a stick in the mud. She believed in gay marriage before "everyone" believed in it. She is a strongly pro-choice. She won't allow any tv in her house to have Donald Trump onscreen. But when it comes to entertainment she wants wholesome, pleasant stuff and this revival for all its virtues is not that.

OMG U Guyz
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#31
Posted: 4/15/19 at 9:30pm

yes, but he went after the actors in a nasty personal way. It's why studios didn't want him reviewing films anymore so they moved him to Theatre. 

Zion24
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joined:3/27/19
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#32
Posted: 4/15/19 at 10:32pm

poisonivy2 said: "I don;t think reviews like Rex Reed's are "useless." This revival is not for everyone."

Rex Reed did not write a review where he expressed his distaste for the revival. He wrote like a petulant child, and was particularly harsh to the actors themselves- not just for their performances in this production, but taking down their entire careers. It reads like an Onion fake review. Its embarrassing, even for the NY Post.

 

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poisonivy2
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#33
Posted: 4/15/19 at 10:55pm

OMG U Guyz said: "yes, but he went after the actors in a nasty personal way. It's why studios didn't want him reviewing films anymore so they moved him to Theatre."

I agree that the way he described the actors was unprofessional and tactless. However I do think he (and Terry Teachout) represent a particular type of critic. They are conservative. They deplore the avant-garde. And let's face it, they represent a sizable chunk of the theater-going public. There's a reason POTO and Wicked are probably going to run forever. So while I disagree with Reed's review and can't wait to get the cast album for this revival this isn't a revival I'd recommend without reservations.

Shh_413
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#34
Posted: 4/15/19 at 11:01pm
Is anyone really surprised Rex Reed wrote an offensive review? I use "wrote" in the loosest sense, in the same way a one-year-old writes their name on the walls of their bedroom with their feces.

This is the same man who insulted the entire nation of South Korea, called Melissa McCarthy "tractor-sized" in one of her films, confused Guillermo del Toro with "Benecio" del Toro, and referred to characters with disabilities in films as "defective creatures".
Updated On: 4/15/19 at 11:01 PM
Zion24
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#35
Posted: 4/15/19 at 11:06pm

poisonivy2 said: 
I agree that the way he described the actors was unprofessional and tactless. However I do think he (and Terry Teachout) represent a particular type of critic. They are conservative. They deplore the avant-garde. And let's face it, they represent a sizable chunk of the theater-going public. "

Right but I dont think anyone here is criticizing Terry Teachout, or anyone else who wrote a "i didnt like this production" review. Reed's review was written like a nasty 9 year old forced to do a book report against his will. That he has a conservative viewpoint isnt the issue, nor is the fact that he didnt like the production.

 

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morosco
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#36
Posted: 4/22/19 at 7:53pm

While the best revivals—such as Bartlett Sher’s My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center Theater—infuse classic plays with new themes, questions, and meanings, they are often most effective when remaining true to their creators’ spirit and intent. It is one thing to emphasize the darkness that lies beneath this iconic musical’s cheery surface. It is another to turn what Rodgers and Hammerstein intended as a celebration of the American spirit into a sanguinary condemnation of it.

A perverse Broadway revival of a classic American musical imposes brutal interpretations

Updated On: 4/22/19 at 07:53 PM
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Miles2Go2
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#37
Posted: 10/3/19 at 12:50am

Okay so Tuesday night was my first of two Madonna concerts. Visit my report on the off topic thread for my impressions - I loved it!

Today (Wednesday) was a two show day. Matinee of Betrayal followed by evening performance of Oklahoma!

Started day with one of my favorite brunch spots - Philip Marie in the West Village. They have the best omelets and drinks.

Headed over to Jacobs Theatre for Betrayal. I actually had an extreme side mezzanine front row partial view $25 seat, but checked with box office and for $24 was moved to Row M9 left orchestra. Great view. Only at one point when Ashton and Cox were performing a scene was Hiddleston far left and I could only see half of him. Lots of sporadic empty seats in back half of orchestra.

As far as the production itself, all three gave stellar performances. I’d say Hiddleston gave my favorite performance. I just felt like the play itself isn’t maybe as profound as Pinter thought it was or maybe I missed it. Also, I didn’t detect all this crying, snot running others have mentioned. Maybe because I accidentally left binoculars in my hotel room. Still a very good day at the theater. Much humor was mined out of such a dark subject. I will say at one point I discovered a solitary tear angling down my left cheek. They don’t stagedoor matinees which was fine as it’s hard for me to stagedoor after a depressing play. I bought a magnet before the play began and a Hiddle Me This cocktail. Yummy! I did mention to bartender that when the user welcomed me with “Welcome to Betrayal”, it reminded me of something Stefan on SNL would say about some new bar. The bartender said that would now be stuck in his head and I said you’re welcome. Oh and about the audience, besides a little candy wrapper noise in my section, two separate cell phones went off to the spontaneous verbal disgust of people in our section myself included. I swear it’s almost a given that if you see a quiet play cell phones are going to go off no matter how much they warn them.

Went to Joe Allen. I know their menu is limited right now so I can’t judge it based on what it usually is like. It was okay. The beet salad that my server recommended was phenomenal though. That’s saying something since I hate beets. I had a cheeseburger and it was good, and certainly nothing earth shattering but good. I didn’t have room for dessert.

Headed over to CITS. Maybe one of these days I’ll remember that my map always takes me to the wrong place when I get directions to Circle in the Square. Anyway finally found it with some assistance. Before the show I bought the program and then they had a deal where you can get the magnet, mug and keychain all for $20 so I did that. I thought about the window card but held off. I’ve already bought 4 window cards this trip and I’m running out of wall space as it is.

Regarding Oklahoma!, I first have to say I don’t think I’ve ever seen the movie. And I’ve only seen one stage production that was done locally every summer at an outside theater venue outside of Tulsa. And that’s probably been 20 years ago so my memories of it are pretty vague. All of that is to say that I wasn’t overly wedded to what I thought the show has been or should be. I thought it’s a really brave production and I even liked the dream ballet once I understood what it was which was when it was over. I thought everyone gave stellar performances and I was lucky that all the principle cast were in. I was so glad to see Ali Stroker again after seeing her in Spring Awakening. But...

I found both shows really easy to admire immensely, but not easy to necessarily “love” if that makes sense. Oklahoma! was great on so many fronts. It’s hard to believe this was ever considered a feel good musical. The dark themes are there and explored extremely well.

I will admit I’m a little down in the dumps and I’m not sure if it’s because my trip is nearing its end (always hard to say goodbye to NYC) or because I saw two depressing shows today. Either way, that may have affected my enjoyment of both shows a bit. I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because I missed the chili and cornbread. As soon as intermission began I ran to the bathroom and I was the second one in there so got in and out quickly. That was one of the advantages of being seated in K110 (which also afforded good views). But the disadvantage was by the time I got back the line for chili was really long and they ran out of chili or they just quit serving before I even got close to getting chilly. I suppose in retrospect I should’ve stood in line for chili and then going to the bathroom but I wanted to make sure that my bladder took precedence. Not gonna lie. I was pretty bummed even though I wasn’t hungry. I just wanted to have the full experience. There’s a chance I wouldn’t have liked the chili anyway since I’m from Oklahoma which is a place that prides itself on having really good chili although I know people said this chili is good. I also have been operating on three hours asleep after the Madonna concert the night before and so I’m sure that’s affecting my mood as well. I had some trouble staying awake during act one of Oklahoma! Due to being tired and the show being depressing, I did not stagedoor afterwards. Took the subway back to my hotel in Brooklyn and I’m getting ready to pass out here in a minute and try to get a good night’s sleep.

I know it’s been mentioned that some of the people don’t get that the ending of Oklahoma in this production is not joyous and I’m not sure how anybody would not get that but as I looked around I saw older women singing along or mouthing the words in a very joyous manner at the end.

I’m glad I have an opportunity to to see Madonna again tomorrow from the front row and then Tootsie on Friday night which will be a feel good musical to end my trip.

Updated On: 10/3/19 at 12:50 AM
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Miles2Go2
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joined:8/10/17
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#38
Posted: 10/3/19 at 1:04am
Also, didn’t hear any phones go off during Oklahoma! They get pretty stern warnings at the beginning of each act but I haven’t seen that work much with other shows. They said one of the actors would stop the show if they saw somebody using their phone and ask them to stop using their phones. There were also a lot of empty seats in the higher rows.
Jarethan
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joined:2/10/11
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#39
Posted: 10/10/19 at 12:48am
I saw this tonight, after seeing Slave Play this Afternoon. What a day!!

I have always hated Oklahoma for its corniness and my wife hated it more than me. Based on the reviews, we decided to take a chance and see it with a friend who has always loved it.

What we saw was stupendous. I can not think of any musical revival that I thought came anywhere close to this in directorial vision and sheer creativity, emotional impact, and with such a gut punch Towards the end. Performances were all excellent, although I was disappointed that Damon Daunno was out, as his performance on the OCR is mesmerizing.

I thought his decision not To turn the house lights down for most of the show was genius, for two reasons: (1) I really did feel more involved in the action (and I was in Row G or H); and (2) and it made the scenes that took place in the dark more striking.

This is the first time I didn’t want to drown Ado Annie, Will Parker, and Ali Hakim. While they are still a little
Corny, they are not cloying, as was the case with every other production I have seen. I actually enjoyed their scenes. I would give the actors Immense credit for this. This was probably the first time I ever even liked I Can’t Say No, and I thought it was the musical highlight of the show, which had so many highlights. I don’t know whether that was solely due to Ali Stoker’s choices or also to Fisk’s country music vision, presumably both.

Interestingly, I thought the scene In which Curley kills Jud In an act of cold blooded murder and its follow-up trial scene were brilliantly conceived; the friend who loves Oklahoma liked every directorial decision but that one. She just Couldn’t bring herself to believe that Curly would kill so easily, even if he had a reason. After the disappointment for me
of Hadestown, I was a little apprehensive here, and clearly did not have to be.
SouthernCakes
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joined:7/29/19
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#40
Posted: 10/10/19 at 12:51am
See, as a first time viewer, the ending had me very confused. I didn’t understand why they’d kill him since he didn’t actually do anything ...
Jarethan
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#41
Posted: 10/10/19 at 1:03am
IMO, Jud taunted him with the gift of the gun and the intense kiss of Laurie. Unlike prior versions, it was also pretty clear to me that Jud came pretty close to raping Laurie not long before. Maybe she told him.

I think he concluded that Jud was always going to be a problem, and he needed the problem to go away. And he knew he’d get away with it; everyone liked Curly and Laurie, no one liked Jud, and it was violent times.
Rainah
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joined:11/24/16
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#42
Posted: 10/10/19 at 2:14am

I saw it a few weeks ago and have been thinking about it ever since. 

I saw a high school production of Oklahoma! as a child, and it was bad enough to leave me with an irrational hatred of the show more than a decade and a half later. I went mostly to see Damon, and with a curiosity for this 'reinvention' of the show, but without strong memories of it.

It worked, mostly. 

The acting was phenomenal. Couldn't take my eyes of Patrick Vail as Judd, even in scenes where he was sitting quietly. In contrast to many, I loved Laurey and her dynamic with Curly, it reminded me a heck of a lot of the dynamic between me and my partner, with him clowning around for her approval and her telling him he's an idiot but secretly enjoying it. Beyond that, the naked desire on Rebecca's face in some scenes would be enough to convince me lol. We had Sasha on as Ado Annie and I wasn't a huge fan, but without seeing Ali I can't say if that's due to the actress or the direction. 

A lot of the directing choices felt a bit like chucking stuff at the wall and seeing what stuck, or drama for drama's sake rather that coming naturally from the story. It's cool and enjoyable in the moment, but I'm not sure that it really reinforced the themes. Everything going all green while the lovers croon at each other is awesomely cool when you're sitting there, but there's also a bit of "okay... why?" I couldn't help but compare it to the Spring Awakening revival a few years ago, that had inventive directing that really felt like it went with the show and reinforced the themes. 

I liked the modern dance a lot, and I usually don't like dance pieces. I did feel it went on a bit long. A solid 3-4 min piece and I would be 100% onboard.

I also don't think they did a decent job of creating an arc for Curly. The elements of his character don't seem to quite jive. My partner and I have been tossing around how we'd tweak it, and there are different ways depending on what they want to emphasize, but it felt like his character needed a bit more work.

Actually, that's a good summary for how I feel about the whole show. When you're right there looking at it, it's thrilling. When you pull back and look from a bit of distance, as a whole all the elements don't quite mesh.

Or, as my GF says it, "It's EDGY Oklahoma! that f**ks"

 

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Miles2Go2
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#43
Posted: 10/10/19 at 1:36pm
This is interesting. I actually think my appreciation for the revival has only grown since I saw it last week. Admittedly, I was dog-tired when I saw it so that was a factor, but I’d really love to see it again when I’m well rested. That won’t happen before it closes, but I look forward to seeing it again when it launches the national tour here in Oklahoma. I do think it’ll receive a mixed response here, but I’m looking forward to it.
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jakebloke
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OKLAHOMA! Reviews#44
Posted: 10/11/19 at 6:21am
I saw this last week. Thankfully it was lottery price because I thought it was a long pretentious bore. It’s not my favorite show to begin with, but strip it down to bare bone tables and crockpots, with weird lighting choices and modern dance, it came across as just trying a bit too hard and for me it didn’t work. I know many people think it’s brilliant.

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