Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Oklahoma!"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2000 by Tony Annicone

"Oklahoma!"

Chario High School's spring production"Oklahoma" directed by Maureen Noel brings the audience back to when they were young and involved in their first show. The anticipation and excitment of the first time singing, dancing or acting on the stage comes alive with these talented kids. Maureen takes them on an exhilarating trip with her direction and blocking of this classic musical. She is ably assisted by music director Allison Shea who not only leads the pit band but has taught these 19 kids how to sing and annunicate the lyrics clearly. Choreographer Wayne Alan Hawkins works wonders in the many dance numbers in this show reworking the balletdream number, "Kansas City", "Many a New Day" and especially the raucous"Farmer & the Cowman" to make the high school students capable of achieving a successful presentation to the audience. Maureen, Allison, Wayne and the 19 member cast are to be commended on a job well done.

Preston Lawhorne and Colleen Turner as Curly and Laurey have fantastic singing voices. He is tall dark and handsome and she's petite and pretty. They make the perfect couple. Both are first timers and will grow and develop into seasoned performers in years to come. I see a bright future for both of them. Relax and let the audience bathe you in their applause. The "Oklahoma" and "Morning" numbers showed off his strong voice and "Day" and "People Will Say" showed hers. Maggie Worthen as Aunt Eller commands the stage with her strong acting ability playing this much older character. Her delivery of lines and songs display Eller's feisty side but shows her warmth towards Curly and Laurey, too. A very good job of character acting.

Douglas Jorgensen and Georgia Dunn both sparkle as Will Parker and Ado Annie. He is very energetic in his scenes and numbers. Doug shows the enthusiasm Will needs and his vocal ability also shines through. Georgia is one of the sexiest Annie's I've ever seen. She has beautiful blond hair, a perfect figure and delivers her lines like Mae West reincarnated. The kissing scenes between these two characters almost set the room on fire. Great chemistry in these two young performers. Another standout cast member is Jed Thompson as the evil Jud Fry. His menancing look and leers at Laurey show his depth as an actor. His spoken rendition of "Lonely Room" also displays the sinister things to come in his pursuit of another man's girl. Look forward to seeing Jed at RIC next year as a freshman theater major. Annie's father Andrew is played by Adam Newman who delivers a menancing figure to the womanizing peddler, Billy McCusker. Adam sings the lead in "The Farmer & Cowman" strongly and he and Maggie(Aunt Eller) make this a standout scene. The entire cast dancing to this song keeps the audience enthralled from start to finish. A word of praise for the three featured dancers, Nora and Chris Monteith and Sarah Satterlee. These three dancers shone in "Kansas City", and especially in the Dream Ballet, Chris as dancing Curly and Nora as dancing Laurey are excellent. They can tap, do ballet, square dance and move around that stage like whirling dervishes. Very talented performers given fabulous dance moves by Wayne. He got everyone to do their best and put their best foot forward. Rachel Hampton as Gertie steals many a scene with her loud snorting laugh and the fight between Ado Annie and Gertie is extremely funny.

Rounding out this talented cast are Josh Gulserian, Lyndsey Luther(who played a male role, Ike), Tonia Marie Klemp, Jean Albee, Sherilee Wood, Crystal Guilbert, and Martin Liese. Look forward to many more wonderful shows from the performers at Chario High School. It's great to see young people being creative!!!

Another added word of congratulations go to costume designer and maker, Judy Klemp whose gorgeous creations brought the needed colors to bring the show to life. It show Americana at it s finest.

"Oklahoma" (till 28 May)
CHARIO HIGH SCHOOL
Switch Road, RICHMOND, RHODE ISLAND
1(401) 364-3497


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