George Mason High School Oklahoma!By Cappies • Nov 20th, 2013 • Category: Cappies
Out West misunderstood love grows with the cornstalks as the young folk must find a way to untangle its hold or they will face Pa’s gleaming shotgun. Last weekend George Mason High School roped in the audience with a solid performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Written and composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II in 1943, Oklahoma! was among the first book musicals, in which the songs and dances are fully incorporated into the plot. The tale unravels in the year 1906 on a farm in the Oklahoma Territory bordering the town of Claremore. Romance springs up between the farm girl Laurey Williams and the cowboy Curly McLain, along with the always flirtatious Ado Annie and an earnest Will Parker. Yet there is jealousy and confusion in the bright western air as the characters struggle to discover their real love, and avoid the threatening presence of Jud Fry the farm hand.
The soaring vocals from Sophie DeLeo as Laurey transported the viewers out west and into the world of the character’s thickening relationships.
The convincing acting of Will Parker (George Castillo) and Ado Annie (Lilly Constance) brought the rocky relationship to life. While Sophie DeLeo captured the hearts of every audience member with singing that soared in the theatre, her expressive features and gestures accurately portrayed Laurey’s indecision about Curly.
The laughs were ringing from the audience as the conning Persian Peddler, Ali Hakim (Alexander Warren), hilariously attempted to avoid marrying Ado Annie as he found himself confronted by Pa’s shotgun, all the while keeping up a lively stage presence and a Persian accent. Beth Cashin as Gertie Cummings gave an impressive laugh that cackled and shrilled to fit her character’s exasperating frivolity. Although in act one the cast lacked some energy, they were able to pick it up in the exuberant finale. The choreography remained simple, such as in the Dream Ballet, yet it never surpassed the actor’s abilities and so the ensemble dances were clean throughout. The humor was the show’s constant companion as laughter sounded in both acts one and two.
A functioning log cabin that the characters could climb on and enter through the front door aided the plot as it allowed characters to leave the stage in a clever way. The set also had a screen backdrop and as time progressed the blue sky shifted to a night sky with stars twinkling above. Notable as well were the effects of the lighting which reflected the mood of the scene. In the Dream Ballet a red glow cast Laurey and Jud’s shadows on the backdrop creating an interesting dynamic between the dancing characters and the shadows. However, some cast members talked during the applause and the words were lost. Similarly, a few actors struggled with proper diction, yet the majority managed to pull off the southern accent. The costumes were consistent with the time period and place and had an overall pleasing appearance.
In this whirlwind of a romantic tale, George Mason High School managed to perform the difficult musical Oklahoma! with plenty of humor and commitment that shone through and made a fine show.
by Sarah Ortiz of Oakcrest School
Photos by Carol Sly
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