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Daniel Fish-Directed OKLAHOMA! Lassos its Way to St. Ann's Warehouse

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BroadwayConcierge
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Bwayfan292 said: "yikes... Was Ali stroker at least good?"

Stroker is good. She gives Ado Annie lots of life and especially livens up the show with "I Cain't Say No." But the direction and concept she's working under is so beyond horribly misguided. 

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BroadwayConcierge said: "greenifyme2 said: "can you elaborate on why you thought it was so bad?"

Should I start with the completely inaudible sound, the contrived angst of the cast, or the gratuitous, self-indulgent production design which does absolutely nothing to serve or elevate the text of the show?
"

Well, I’ve been to many a preview with bad sound so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt they’re still working that out.

I’ll take Cast Angst for $1000, Alex.

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James2 said: "What size are the programs? Are they Playbill size, or are they magazine size, like the one I got when St. Ann's housed A Streetcar Named Desire?"

They are not Playbill size - they are magazine sized.

 

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LightsOut90 said: "any merch?"

I didn't see any, I don't think there is anything yet.

 

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I don't think I've ever seen any merch sold at St. Ann's. It's not that kind of a venue.

"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
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they did sell Windowcards during Streetcar, and considering its a musical with outside producers attached, you never know. 

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I don't care for Oklahoma! There, I said it. I've seen the movie only once, and, until yesterday, I'd have been hard-pressed to remember anything about the plot. I just wasn't engaged by it. However, I thought this production was unforgettable. Unconventional, dark, sexy, avant-garde, twisted, risky, unsettling. Think Oklahoma! by David Lynch. I know this will be a divisive show, but I thought it was revelatory.

As far as seating is concerned, I was in B 112, next to the large support pole, and I loved the view. Seats C 113 and 114 are directly behind the pole, and are severely obstructed. As you go down the row, I'm assuming it's less of an issue, but I'm not sure. I had no significant problem hearing the actors when they were at the other end of the space, even with the band. Also, it seemed to me that more action took place at my end. As others have mentioned, it you're sitting at a table, depending on which seat, actors do block the view during certain scenes.

Updated On: 10/2/18 at 10:18 AM
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So I sat in one of the partial view seats and I thought the view was fine and not really that 'partial' given how the support column was more in the extreme side of my view. I sat in row E102 in the upper section. I'd say if you were sitting in E109/108/107 that the support column would definitely block your view more. I liked my seat because in front of me were the stairs so I had amazing legroom! Seat E101 (upper section) and seat E201 (lower section) are reserved seats for ushers. 

The band was by my section (seats 101-109) and if I were to see this show again, I'd say the best seats are table seating in the lower section seats A215-A222. There were a few scenes where the characters like Ado Annie made direct eye contact with the people sitting there. 

Daniel Fish-Directed OKLAHOMA! Lassos its Way to St. Ann's Warehouse

I was ok with them not using microphones. Given how it was set in 1906, I'd imagine even back then that's how the average person watched theatre. It gave the show a more authentic feel. For an off-bway show I was quite happy with my experience. 

A few people did leave during intermission. The seats are wood so for 3+ hours, I suggest bringing a small pillow. Trust me. The person next to me brought one of those inflatable camping seat pillows and found it much much much more comfortable.

Some more thoughts with spoilers:

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content

The whole last scene was baffling to me. I can't imagine singing and dancing a cheery Oklahoma! on the same evening when you just killed someone. Both Curly and Laurey still had blood on their faces and white clothing when they started dancing and singing the finale. It just seemed bizarre.

What was up with the "Little Wonder" cylinder tube with the pictures of women that Jud bought for $3.50. Was that used in the original movie? In this production, I felt it wasn't really needed. My understanding is there's a blade secretly hidden in it?

 

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I rather enjoyed 85% of this, it probably helps that ive never seen Oklahoma onstage so I wasnt sitting there comparing things the whole time, also didnt hurt to get serenaded by Ado Annie Daniel Fish-Directed OKLAHOMA! Lassos its Way to St. Ann's Warehouse

I really didnt love the dream ballet and the scenes in the dark thing which is a carry-over from other Daniel Fish productions was so unnecessary.

Mary Testa, what a gift she is, I am hoping for a cast recording, I actually rather liked some of the new arrangements.

And yeah the end is kind of insane, this is certainly not going to be for everyone, but if you are going to St Anns for a traditional production of anything you dont know what you are doing.

But yeah A215-A222 I really think is the sweet spot.  

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Somehow, up till last night, I had avoided seeing any incarnation of Oklahoma before. I am now desperately curious to see what a "normal" staging of Oklahoma looks like because, while obvious this was a very weird production, it seems like the original material is also very weird as well! I could not for the life of me understand the angst about Jud-- it definitely felt resonant to have the character read like a creepy incel radicalized by online forums. Is Laurie supposed to be attracted to him or drawn to him in the original show? It just seems like he's a creep and she feels awkward/fearful about saying no? But I guess that's actually even more resonant in today's era, with the ways women are taught to repress their own desires or will in fear of men's retaliation. 

I loved the arrangements, and I swear every time I see Damon Daunno I fall more in love with him. He and Mary Testa made the show for me. I enjoyed Rebecca Naomi Jones's acting performance but vocally, I was a bit underwhelmed. The last time I saw her on stage I remember being blown away by how strong her voice was, but here there was something of a gritty straining quality. But who knows maybe that was on purpose!

But in general I loved it, it was so fun, funny, and delightfully moody. I've never felt so dramatically the impact of lighting choices. I did not understand the dream ballet for a single moment but I still loved it (and I really want one of those shirts). Only downside of my experience was sitting next to a person who kept commenting throughout (ie, in reaction to one thing from the ceiling: "haha, that's a whoopsie! oh wait, that was on purpose" or suggesting that someone in the audience should bid during the auction scene)-- I actually had to shush her, which I hate doing. 

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Anyone tried the cancellation line?
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@jawjuhh, I agree with just about everything you said, down to sitting next to an awful audience member. This production tears the text to shreds and changes the intention and intent of every line, making comedic lines dramatic, changing who people are talking to... it's a completely different show. The arrangements were revelatory. Damon Daunno makes me swoon. James Davis and Ali Stroker's chemistry was amazing, and they both had the audience rooting for them. Mary Testa pushed her 'Mary Testa' schtick to the max, and it worked so well for the role. Pegging Judd as an incel was scary in today's times, and emphasizes the fact that Laurey is scared of him and not really attracted to him at all. The Judd/Laurey scene in the dark was especially resonant. Especially since I never usually see Judd as having any motivation other than "I'm a villain!", I'm glad I can see him in a new light, no matter how dark it is.

There were lots of beautiful stage pictures. I especially loved when the stadium lights would reflect off of the shimmery streamers onto the actors, giving the stage a dream-like quality. And the haunting Laurey/Judd scene where the only thing you can see is the perimeter string lights... must be very triggering to some people.

I really enjoyed RNJ... but I can't help but think of how Amber Grey would have handled the role if she was still with the production. 

I'll admit not every directorial choice worked very well, but I liked that it was messy. Even the Dream Ballet, which I mostly didn't like, seemed to work for some. The Dream Ballet is famous for its ability to tell story through dance. All I got from this one is that Laurie wants to be a horse. 

This will never transfer because it will get awful word-of-mouth reviews from Broadway's primary ticket buyers (white people over 55), but I wish it would so more people could experience it.

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I desperately wanted to like this, but thought it was mostly a mess. There are so many directorial choices that seem to scream "Im SAYING something with this choice!" but I have no idea what it was that he was trying to say. 

Speaking of sound, that's the biggest issue with the production. In a different space the non-mic'd actors wouldn't be a problem. But here everything is sucked into the ceiling. I had a couple people in my group who had never seen the show and were entirely unfamiliar with it. They had no idea what was being said/sung for 75% of the time. And we were in the first row at the tables. And then actors are SOMETIMES mic'd and sometimes not. No idea why the switching.

The cast was clearly directed to give a monotone straight reading of most scenes. In some cases this cleverly re-framed characters, but after a while it wore thin and came off as a gimmick without good cause for existing. 

The dream ballet...I don't even know where to begin. Another piece that clearly was supposed to SAY something. What that something was is anyone's guess. This was from another planet, and it doesn't even frame it as Laurey's dream. 

The chili and cornbread was nice. ...But why did we have crockpots full of chili on our tables that were never used? We just lined up at one end of the stage during intermission and were served out of one big batch. It was a great example of how the production couldn't really decide how interactive it wanted to be. 

Thankfully, there are some stellar performances that made this watchable. Ali Stroker is absolutely phenomenal and frankly should take home any and all Featured Actress awards that can be thrown at her. Her Ado Annie had me in stitches every time she appeared. Mary Testa also made interesting choices by upping her usual schtick and then subverting it towards the end. And many of the new folk inspired musical arrangements were great. 

Ultimately I left just wanting to watch the movie and get the blood-soaked St Ann's finale out of my head. 

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Has anyone had success with the mobile rush or cancellation line? Thinking of trying for tomorrow.

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Wick3 said: "So I sat in one of the partial view seats and I thought the viewwas fine and not really that 'partial' given how the support column was more in the extreme side of my view. I sat in row E102 in the upper section. I'd say if you were sitting in E109/108/107 that the support column would definitely block your view more. I liked my seat because in front of me were the stairs so I had amazing legroom! Seat E101 (upper section) and seat E201 (lower section) are reserved seats for ushers."

Thanks for this info! So do you think C109&110 will be badly obstructed? 

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My friend and I went to see the show on Sunday and we both enjoyed it. We both have never seen an actual production of Oklahoma, so maybe that helped accepting this version since we were watching it with fresh eyes. 

That being said we had Partial View Seats, Row E seats 102 and 103, but before the show the usher moved us to Row B center seats on the other side of the stage, which were amazing seats. The usher said for the past few preview performances they have been moving Row E partial view people to better seats since stage management have been sitting in those seats. That being said seats 102 and 103 in row E were not too obstructed, but any more in and that column would have blocked the entire show. Since most things occur on the other side and in the center, so if any one plans to buy a partial view seat I'd say buy farther away from the center, since that pole will block your view if you are too close to the center. 

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Saw the show tonight and absolutely loved it as did my mother, who I brought with me. We did the cancellation line and ended up front row center, at the tables. It was an incredible view.

The design is beautiful and striking. The whole show is bizarre and strange, but wonderful and enjoyable at the same time. I've never been a very big Oklahoma fan even though I've always loved the music. I've always found it boring and unfunny, but I certainly thought the opposite tonight. Fish and the cast have really dusted this one off.

Damon Daunno is phenomenal here. His voice is sublime and his acting is fantastic. In fact, the acting all around was really fantastic. Rebecca Naomi Jones is so refreshing here and instead of singing the score "pretty," she goes for a rougher, grittier, more vulnerable sound, which really served this production. Also, Mary Testa is a treasure and Ali Stroker is sensational. Overall, it's just a great theatrical experience and I'm always excited for an opportunity to look at a classic work through fresh eyes.

Also, the orchestrations are incredible and I hope we get a recording.
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I wish I’d left after I got my cornbread and chili. I loved the performances but that’s it.
i've got 99 problems and a revival of parade would solve like 94 of them
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My friend and I really enjoyed this unconventional staging of Oklahoma! We caught the Sunday matinee. It's such a traditional, classic score, but it sounded great reimagined as folk tunes and sung so intimately, without being miked (except when the handhelds were used). I didn't mind the blackout scenes and feel they heightened the drama.

I even didn't mind the gory ending because I think the director was making a statement about gun violence, both in how it birthed our nation and how it continues to divide us today. It was a disturbing ending, and it was meant to disturb us.

My friend and I both hated the dream ballet. It seemed to be a case of being different and weird and avant-garde just for the sake of it. We didn't feel the dance explored or illuminated Laurey's inner turmoil. And it was way way too long. A miss.

I would have preferred to see something offbeat done with the show's characters.

We didn't have any trouble with the sound and enjoying all the performances.

Another weird aspect is that the programs weren't given out until after the show. Plus, there isn't any mention of the songs. I really wanted a list. What makes it doubly odd is that the program gives a list of, say, the crew that built the set and loaded in the show, which is nice but not usually included in programs, to my knowledge. But something as crucial as the song list was left out.

 

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Count me as another who loved this production. I didn't agree with all its ideas, but I gave it a lot of credit for having so many new and unusual ideas. What didn't work for me was the odd dream ballet (no spoilers) and the final confrontation between Jud and Curly that I thought could have been made clearer. The cast standout for me was Ali Stroker, who I fell in love with and gave the best performance of Ado Annie I've ever seen. Rebecca Naomi Jones was a superb Laurie, and Patrick Vaill, who was an unconventional, somewhat low-key Jud Fry was also very effective. And I give major credit to Michael Nathanson who made the scenes with Ali Hakim, which have dragged in other productions I've seen, so enjoyable. The acoustics in the cavernous St. Ann's theater aren't perfect, but the only real problem was when some of the actors were speaking their dialogue very softly. The small band arrangements are wonderful, and I too would love to hear them on a cast album. I'm not sure I would have wanted to sit in the rear in one of the corners, as I think those people missed some of the action. I'll second those who would like to see this moved to Circle in the Square. I thought it was a bracing antidote to this year's mostly innovation-free Carousel revival.

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Oh, and someone upthread asked about merchandise. They are selling Oklahoma!-branded t-shirts and tote bags with a giant "OK!" on them.

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macnyc said: "Another weird aspect is that the programs weren't given out until after the show. Plus, there isn't any mention of the songs."

Well, the front rows probably impacted the program thing, since people were sort of interacting with our tables the whole time.

As for a song list, it shouldn't be too hard to find out what songs are in Oklahoma?

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Big rave review in the NYT, co-written by Brantley & Green! (I seem to remember them co-writing about something they disliked a while ago, but is this their first joint rave?)

I know two shows have already been rumored for Circle in the Square (Hadestown and Hillary), but do we think there's any chance of this transferring? I wouldn't dare suggest a proscenium house, since it's such a unique staging (unless they wanted to do a huge renovation of the Hayes or Booth?)

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The way the dream sequence has been talked about multiple times. I'm not going to get to see the production and I'm curious as to how it is staged and how it differs from the original. Could anyone give me a description? 


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