Rodger and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma” is an American classic, a piece that glows with the optimism of a time when life was simple and opportunity was as wide open as the vast, expansive plains – a time when boy met girl, and a kiss conjured happily ever after.The North Fork Theater brings Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma” to glorious life, transforming a Mattituck stage into a turn of the century time when surreys have fringe on top and Indian Territory Oklahoma is a land poised for change, on the brink of becoming a state.
The Play:“Oklahoma,” the first collaborative effort between composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, first opened on Broadway in 1943. The show was based on the play “Green Grow the Lilacs,” by Lynn Riggs, and has been called the single most influential work in the American theater.
The Interpretation:The NFCT’s adaptation of “Oklahoma” is a nod to Rodgers & Hammerstein’s brilliance and talent, paying homage to a timeless classic with energy and vivacity.
The Set:Colorful sets, constructed by Chip Sullivan, decorated by Ellen Lapurka, cast and crew, and painted by Lynn and George Summers transport audiences back to the past, to Indian territory and windswept plains.
The Costumes: Costume design, by Diane Peterson, Maureen Shea, Irene Bradley, Sherry Boedeker, Pat Speed and Babete Cornine, deserves applause for authenticity and colorful flair.
The High Points: The NFCT raises the bar for community theater. The entire cast gives it their all, resulting in a display of talent and enthusiasm that leaves the audience singing out loud. But special mention should be made of James Stevens, who gives his Curly a strong, masculine voice laced with quiet dignity. Stevens’ Linda Aydinian’s Aunt Eller has some laugh out loud moments. Perhaps the most delightful performance of the night comes in the form of Amanda Mouzakes’ Ado Annie Carnes, a flirtatious charmer who woos men and possesses impeccable timing, a standout voice, and genuine sincerity and innocence. Also of note is Rusty Kransky’s gripping portrayal of the dark and brooding Jud Fry, a troubled soul who aches for understanding and the chimerical promise of love.
Q & A Director Robert Horn said he was pleased to be asked to sign on for “Oklahoma.” “It made me think of how this show is such a part of the fabric of the Broadway musical theater, just like this theater is a part of this community’s fabric.”
Catch performances of “Oklahoma!" at the North Fork Community Theater through May 2, with performances on Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2:30 pm. For tickets and information call 631.298.NFCT.