Friday, March 14, 2014

theatre review OKLAHOMA!, Hale Centre Theatre, March 5

Bryan Stewart and Rebecca Bryce
Click here to read my complete review at Talkin' Broadway of Oklahoma!, receiving an excellent intimate production at the Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert.

"It's hard to believe that Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's first musical collaboration together, Oklahoma!, just recently celebrated the seventieth anniversary of its Broadway opening. I've seen several large scale productions of this show, including the huge 2002 Broadway revival, so it's nice to see how successful it can be in an intimate setting, which is what it's receiving in a superb production at the Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert. Focusing on the rivalry between a farm hand and a cowboy for the hand of a farm girl in the Oklahoma territory of the early 1900s, the musical paints a fairly simple romantic story. However, it is also set across the sweeping landscape of settlers and the various social events that take place in their simple lives. Those events include a barn raising and a social dance that provide plenty of big and elaborate stage moments to counter the more intimate and dramatic romantic ones surrounding the love triangle between cowboy Curly, farm hand Jud, and farm girl Laurey. Rodgers and Hammerstein received a special Pulitzer Prize for the show, and several famous songs came from the score, including the opening number "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top," the romantic duet "People Will Say We're in Love" and the show-stopping title song.

Oklahoma! is a classic musical and one with many excellent moments. The intimacy of the Hale Theatre allows the emotions of the characters to come through strongly. With excellent leads, perfect direction, and the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein songs, I urge everyone to see the fantastic production that this ground breaking musical is receiving at The Hale Centre Theatre.
The Hale Centre Theatre production of Oklahoma! runs through March 29, 2014, with performances at 50 W. Page Avenue in Gilbert. Tickets can be ordered at or by calling (480) 497-1181.

Photo: Sam Miller

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