Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oklahoma!


Oklahoma written by Oscar Hammerstein and music by Richard Rodgers  was performed as a semi-staged concert on September 5th and 6th by Central Florida Community Arts. I went to the final dress rehearsal on September 4th at Northland, A Church Distributed (530 Dog Track Road, Longwood, Fl). The interior of this church is absolutely cavernous. Some volunteers were busy placing inserts in the programs. The concert would benefit victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes There was a 300 voice choir, 70 performers along with a 100 member orchestra. Most performers were volunteers. The guest conductor was Clay Price.

Joshua Vickery, the co-founder and executive director of CFC Arts welcomed me. This organization had set up its first headquarters in the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts (1111 N. Orange Ave. Orlando Fl ) a building it shares with the Orlando Ballet. They had to move out recently because the building is plagued with a mold problem. The building is set right across the street from Lake Ivanhoe and it's foundation is actually below lake level. Any time it rains, the ground floor floods. I've seen the flooding myself several times when I've sketched at the building. Now CFC Arts and the Ballet need a new home.

The scenes played out on the arched stage the pushed out towards the audience. The musical began with Curley, played by Wes Miller and Aunt Eller, played by Alice Smetheram, singing "Oh what a beautiful morning" at Laurey's farmhouse.  That was the moment I decided to sketch. When the entire cast sang "Oklahoma!" the shear scale of the concert became clear. It had been a long time since I saw the movie production so I followed the plot with interest. The production was surprisingly long. When I finished the sketch Act II had not yet begun. The cast was given a break and I decided to call it a night. I would have to see the ending at a performance.

Mark Your Calendar! CFC Arts will be presenting "The Music of Rogers & Hammerstein" on September 20 at 7:30pm, September 21 at 7:30pm and September 22nd at 6:30pm. tickets are $12 for advanced online reserved seating or $10 at the door. Performances will be at the Orlando Repertory Theatre, (1001 E Princeton Street, Orlando, FL).


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