Friday, September 20, 2013

Oklahoma!


On September 6th I went to the final performance of Oklahoma at the Northland Church (530 Dog Track Road Longwood FL). Since I had already sketched the huge stage, I rushed up for a front row seat on stage right. As people continued to filter in, I started sketching in the stage. I knew how the opening act would unfold so I had a good idea where the actors would be staged. There was also a lone stool onstage which became the scenes anchor. A mother and her little girl sat to my right. I apologized to her that I'd be sketching for much of the show. She didn't mind. As a matter of fact, her little girl was scribbling much of the time as well.

Aunt Eller played by Alice Smetheram sat in the stool.  The romance between Curly and Laurey played by Wes Miller and Cassidy Tompkins, became obvious though they jokingly tease each other. Their teasing turns to an argument and Aunt Eller shouts out "Why don't you just kiss her?"  Curly asked Laurey to go to a box social dance with him that night, but she refuses, feeling that Curly had waited too long. He attempts to persuade her by telling her that he will take her in the finest carriage money can buy, "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top", but she teases him about it until he says he made it up to get back at her, and Laurey flounces off, not realizing that Curly really has rented such a rig.

A lonely farm hand named Jud, played by Tim Evanicki, becomes obsessed with Laurey and he asks her to the dance. She accepts to spite Curly although she is terrified of Jud.  Tim's performance was amazing. He must have operatic training and he was always a menacing presence. The Orlando Ballet collaborated with Central Florida Community Arts to bring about a graceful dream ballet as Laurey as she lamented her choice of suitors.

The production was painfully long and I discovered that my choice in seats meant staring at backsides during the more crowded scenes at the box social. With an army of performers however, it was easy to get swept away by the music. Mark your Calendar! On September 20 and 21 at 7:30 and September 22 at 6:30 CFC Arts will be presenting The Music of Rogers & Hammerstein at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Tickets are $10 at the door. The Orlando Ballet 2013 season will kick off with "Tribute" on October 18-20th at the Bob Carr.

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