Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On TUTS' OKLAHOMA!
TUTS' OKLAHOMA is now on stage through September 23rd! Priscilla Lopez stars as "Aunt Eller" in the production and is joined by Sam Simahk as "Curly," Olivia Hernandez as "Laurey," Madeline Hamlet as "Ado Annie," Logan Keslar as "Ike Skidmore", Hassan Nazari-Robati as "Ali Hakim," Christopher Campbell as "Will Parker," Eric Ulloa as "Jud Fry," David Sitler as "Andrew Carnes," and Dewey Caddell as "Cord Elam."
Rounding out the cast in the ensemble is Preston Andrews as "Mike," Cristina Maria Castro as "Kate," Chelsea Ryan McCurdy as "Vivian," Lauren Salazar as "Gertie Cummings," Kiaya Scott as "Ellen," Nick Szoeke as "Slim," Katrina Wilson as "Virginia," and Andrew Zapata. Joining the ensemble from Houston Ballet is Tyler Donatelli, Chandler Dalton, Christopher Gray, Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, Oliver Halkowich, Gabrielle Johnson, Bridget Kuhns, Jacquelyn Long, Fernando Martin-Gullans, Samuel Rodriguez, Aaron Sharratt, Alyssa Springer, Hayden Stark, Natalie Varnum, and Andrew Vecseri.
As previously announced, TUTS' production of Oklahoma! is directed by Dallas Theater Center's Artistic Director, Kevin Moriarty. The production, which is an artistic collaboration with Houston Ballet, ischoreographed by Stanton Welch AM, Artistic Director of Houston Ballet. Broadway conductor Kimberly Grigsby isMusical Director of the show. Joining them on the production are Andrew Harper as Sound Designer, Jason Lyons as Lighting Designer, and Karen Perry as Costume Design. Casting for Oklahoma! was provided by Paul Hardt of Stewart/Whitley.
The first collaboration by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Oklahoma! is often considered the single most important work in the musical theatre canon. The original production was a smash hit on Broadway running for an unprecedented 2,212 performances. It's had countless revivals, national tours, an Academy Award-winning film adaptation, and won a special Pulitzer Prize for Rodgers and Hammerstein in 1944.
Based on Lynn Riggs' play, Green Grow the Lilacs, with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Oklahoma! centers on life in the early 1900s in the rural farmland of Oklahoma, and the love story between Curly and Laurey.
Full of familiar tunes that will get you humming and your toes tapping, this rousing and optimistic story of love and redemption, renewal and hard work, is a thrilling must-see Houston theatrical event! For tickets, visit TUTS.com.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Doni Wilson, Houstonia: Everything ultimately comes back to the edgy choreography that sometimes emerges unexpectedly. One moment you have cowboys doing a kind of predictable routine, entertaining but unsurprising, and then you have scenes that are more suggestive and violent, underscoring the menacing presence of Jud Fry (Eric Ulloa) and the threat he represents with his aggressive and unpredictable behavior as a worker who competes with the charming Curly (Sam Simahk) for the attention of Laurey (Olivia Hernandez). I had forgotten how threatening Jud's character was; the surreal dream sequences emphasize the violence that is a powerful undercurrent throughout the show.
Trevor Boffone, The Theatre Times: So, the acting and singing are top-notch, but let's talk about the dancing. Produced in artistic collaboration with Houston Ballet, the musical has never looked better. As a kid, the long ballet sequences in Oklahoma! would sometimes bore me. At the least, I didn't understand why it was there. Houston Ballet dancers Ian Casady, Charles Yoshiyama, Jessica Collado, Melody Mennite, Christopher Coomer, and Brian Waldrep alternate the lead roles during the musical's famed dream ballet. Under choreographer Stanton Welch AM, Artistic Director of Houston Ballet, the dream ballet truly takes the production to a new level. The choreography is both innovative and also pays respect to Agnes De Mille's landmark choreography in the original production of Oklahoma! As well as the film adaptation. I hate to admit that I've never attended a performance at Houston Ballet, but this production certainly changed that. Now I can't wait to check out Houston Ballet's season.
Audrey Morabito, BroadwayWorld: Maybe it was the context of this classic show that placed the audience back in the older days of theatre, or maybe it was the quality of the cast, but last night that fourth wall was burst through completely. This intimate exchange--this acknowledgement of human connection--is what makes live theatre what it is. This couldn't have been more evident on opening night, especially in "The Farmer And The Cowman" where the audience couldn't help but applaud several times in response to the series of impressive choreography.