New in 2019 A dark reimagining of Rodgers & Hammerstein's iconic musical about a farm girl and her courtship by two rival suitors that also reveals a community circling its wagons against an outsider, and the violence of the frontier that shaped America.
From the producers: Seventy-five years after Rodgers & Hammerstein reinvented the American musical, this is "Oklahoma!" as you’ve never seen or heard it before, reorchestrated and reimagined for the 21st century. Stripped down to reveal the darker psychological truths at its core, Daniel Fish’s production tells a story of a community circling its wagons against an outsider, and the violence of the frontier that shaped America. Upending the sunny romance of a farmer and a cowpoke, this "Oklahoma!" is “thrilling, audacious, and delightful. A rollicking good time: The jokes have never been funnier, the merry songs merrier. This has always been a very American story, but has never felt like so much of one until now.” (The New York Times)
Audience Notes: Due to the mature content in this performance it is recommended for children ages 12 and up. This performance contains fog, loud gunshots, moments of darkness, and violence.
"Oklahoma!," based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play "Green Grow the Lilacs," is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The original 1943 Broadway production was a box office smash and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances, later enjoying award-winning revivals, national tours, foreign productions and an Academy Award-winning 1955 film adaptation. The current revival enjoyed a critically acclaimed run at at St. Ann’s Warehouse in 2018. Here's a trailer from that production:
The production was originally developed and presented at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in 2015. The interior of the Circle in the Square will be repurposed as a community hall for the production, which coincides with the iconic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical's 75th anniversary. The intimate staging features a seven-piece band and chili served to the audience at intermission.
Fish and his excellent 12-member ensemble shine a new light on this corn-fed tale. What's significantly different is that a show normally interpreted as a celebration of the American spirit here unearths the darkness beneath the sunny surface. This audacious revival has a lot to say about where we are now as a nation. Even more impressive though is the fact that it remains such bracing entertainment, compromising neither the drama nor the comedy...feeding directly into the actors' fine-grained character work.
Astonishing...this immersive "Oklahoma!" is at once minimalist and explosive. The dialogue hasn't changed...but every dark undercurrent has come swirling to the surface. Those familiar songs...are all present and accounted for, but the usual show tune gloss is gone, replaced with the twang and punch of roots rock alt-country. Each character is upended from tradition and brought to vivid new life. With the score making an abrupt shift in style to something like the electric squall of Jimi Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner," "Oklahoma!" rings out with a nod to the sublime, violent beauty Hendrix found in our national anthem.