Oklahoma!

September 10, 2019 New York, NY, USA

Who: Amy & I
What: The stripped-down revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein's classic, Oklahoma!
When: August 2019
Where: Circle in the Square Theatre, New York
Why: 1. I'm obsessed with R&H. 2. I won tickets!

Oklahoma! Broadway


Thoughts:
This production first hit my radar when rave reviews started pouring in for the off-Broadway production. As a certified Rodgers & Hammerstein geek, I read everything I could about this new take on Oklahoma! and was dying to see it.



Unfortunately, it closed before I had the chance.

Fortunately, it transferred to Broadway with a limited run that has already been extended.

Fortunately, it was among the shows I won tickets to.

Unfortunately, despite all the cool things I'd read about this revival, it just didn't work for me.

Don't get me wrong, I knew what I was getting into. I knew about the stripped down orchestra and set and more modern costumes and new "tone" for the show. I was intrigued. I love different ways of looking at classic musicals. Some pieces worked for me: I loved that the actors were dancing on tables and throwing back Bud Lights. I cracked up at the cat fight happening between Laurie and Gertie as they violently snapped ears of corn during "Many a New Day". There were fun moments for sure.

Ultimately, stripped down was a little too stripped for me. Having the entire cast on stage made for an awkward lack of transitions. Oh, hey, Will Parker! Back from Kansas City just now? Even though you've literally been sitting on stage silently this whole time? Weird. There were way too many moments like that and it just felt weird. Ultimately, I would have just said the show was "meh". I didn't walk away with any new insights or feelings about the show.

Then we got to the ending. Again, I knew that I was in for something different. I love when revivals are true to the book but still make me see the story in a new light. Not the case here. The book is largely the same until the ending when they decide to spin the story in a whole new direction. No spoilers here, but...no thanks. I went from apathetic to angry (and slightly creeped out) in the final minutes of the show and ultimately walked away with one question:

Why?

I know my opinion is an unpopular one. The people I attended with felt the same way I did, but reviews remain high and the recently released cast recording is currently in the #2 spot, only behind Hamilton, so let's chat. If you love it, I'd love to hear why!
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