Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, directed by Artistic Director Molly Smith, opened as the inaugural production at the Mead Center for American Theater ( Fichandler Theater, SW, Washington, DC). The production received critical raves and is playing an extended limited engagement through December 30th, 2010.
This Oklahoma! merits the exclamation point
Toronto Star newspaper
November 19, 2010
By Richard Ouzounian Theatre Critic
WASHINGTON, D.C.—You’re doing fine, Oklahoma!
The splendiferous revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first musical that has reopened the revitalized Arena Stage, the resident theatre of America’s capitol, is great news for Canadians on many levels.
In the first place, the amazing complex is the work of Vancouver architect Bing Thom. Secondly, the company’s general manager is a man who earned his spurs here at Canadian Stage, Edgar Dobie.
But perhaps most importantly, the show has been beautifully directed by Arena’s artistic director, Molly Smith, and she’s going to be undertaking the same duties for the Shaw Festival’s flagship production of My Fair Lady in the summer of 2011 to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
If Smith’s work on Oklahoma! is any indication of what she’s going to do with My Fair Lady, I would buy my tickets for the Shaw Festival right now.
This isn’t any kind of a radical revisionist production of the R&H classic. Apart from some blessed and bountiful colour-blind casting, Smith has been content to let the work speak for itself.
But what she’s managed to do is capture the feeling that motivated the show in its initial production and which no one else has been able to quite capture ever since.
The magical feeling of a group of people realizing their full potential is what made Oklahoma! soar in the first place and it’s what Smith has created in an inspired remounting.
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