The beloved love story set in the Oklahoma Territory is a first for Town and Country, and comes at a time when the show is enjoying a revival on Broadway.
Oscar Hammerstein reportedly penned the lyrics for the show here in Bucks County at his Highland Farm in Doylestown, taking some of his inspiration for the popular, “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from at the beautiful mornings here.
Director Jon Knapp has performed in the show in the past, and long ago fell in love with the story, characters and music. He ably leads his talented cast and crew through the tale set in the early 1900s when ranchers and farmers worked to get along.
Music director Joe Nappi does a fine job as well, helping the cast to bring to life classic American songs, including “People Will Say We’re in Love,” “I Can’t Say No,” “Surrey With the Fringe on Top,” and the title song, “Oklahoma.”
Making it all work is the cast, led by Damon Lee as Curly. Last seen on the Town and Country stage as Phoebus in “Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Lee is impressive as he strides the stage in his cowboy gear, dances with the company and sings so perfectly that you don’t want him to stop. Handsome and youthful, he is a good match for Patricia Curley, who sings and dances her way into your heart in the role of Laurey.
Taking on the charming roles of Will and Ado Annie are Mark Whitman and Colby Langweiler, both good singers and dancers who clearly enjoy their performances. Whitman even gets to show off his skills at throwing the lasso, which is something you don’t often see in community theater.
Shawn Hudson is appropriately chilling as the frightening antagonist Jud Fry, while Suzanne Ardite pulls everything together in the role of Laurey’s Aunt Eller. Adam Zucal is entertaining as the peddler Ali Hakim.
The show has plenty of energetic dancing, but the dance highlight is the dream sequence choreographed for the original show by Agnes De Mille. Devon Reid is impressive as the dream Curly, nicely paired with the talented Marley Madding as the dream Laurey.
The set is basic, highlighted by Aunt Eller’s house, and the stage crew does a good job of using the limited space of this theater in the round to convey different settings.
“Oklahoma!” is a great show, with the only distraction a lengthy opening overture where the audience waits in the dark for dawn and the start of the beautiful morning. The show continues for three more weeks at the theater in Buckingham, and tickets can be found at townandcountryplayers.org
or by calling the box office at 800-838-3006.
Yeow! It’s a rollicking good time.
The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye in the fields of Bucks County, making this a fine time of year to see the Town and Country Players’ production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic “Oklahoma!”