Oklahoma! BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Little Fang Photo
  • NY TIMES

  • DEADLINE

  • VARIETY

  • HR

  • DAILY BEAST

Opening Night:
April 7, 2019
Closing:
September 1, 2019

Theater: Circle in the Square / 235 West 50th Street, New York, NY, 10019

Synopsis: 

A confident cowboy competes with a surly, mysterious farmhand for the honor of taking a lovely young farm woman to a dance in Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1943 musical adaptation of Green Grow the Lilacs.

After a sold-out, critically acclaimed run at St. Ann’s Warehouse, Oklahoma! comes to Broadway for a strictly limited engagement. Seventy-five years after Rodgers & Hammerstein reinvented the American musical, this is Oklahoma! as you’ve never seen or heard it before, reorchestrated and reimagined for the 21st century. Stripped down to reveal the darker psychological truths at its core, Daniel Fish’s production tells a story of a community circling its wagons against an outsider, and the violence of the frontier that shaped America.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Oklahoma!

    Review: A Smashing ‘Oklahoma!’ Is Reborn in the Land of Id

    Ben Brantley

    April 7, 2019: How is it that the coolest new show on Broadway in 2019 is a 1943 musical usually regarded as a very square slice of American pie? The answer arrives before the first song is over in Daniel Fish’s wide-awake, jolting and altogether wonderful production of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!,” which opened on Sunday night at the Circle in the Square Theater. “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” is the title and the opening line of this familiar number, a paean to a land of promisingly blue skies and open spaces. But Curly, the cowboy who sings it, isn’t cushioned by the expected lush orchestrations. Nor is the actor playing him your usual solid slab of beefcake with a strapping tenor. As embodied by the excellent Damon Daunno, this lad of the prairies is wiry and wired, so full of unchanneled sexual energy you expect him to implode. There’s the hint of a wobble in his cocky strut and voice.

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF Oklahoma!

    ‘Oklahoma!’ Review: Daniel Fish’s Brash New Dive Into Old Territory

    Greg Evans

    April 7, 2019: Presented Off Broadway at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse last fall, Fish’s stunning revival, with its country & western musical stylings, rockabilly cats, chili at intermission and blood on the tracks, has found its perfect Broadway home at the in-the-round Circle. With the house lights turned up through most of the running time – when darkness occasionally enters, it’s total – Oklahoma! has us all at the barn dance. Everyone is complicit. With racks of shotguns marking just about every wall of the theater – there are no walls on the expansive stage floor, around which the audience is seated – this immersive Oklahoma! is at once minimalist and explosive. Below shiny fringed streamers (later replaced by party lights) hanging from the ceiling, the modern-dress characters (chaps and jeans, cowboy hats, trucker caps, tank tops, flannel shirts and Stray Cat suits) move about and on top of long tables.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Oklahoma!

    Broadway Review: ‘Oklahoma!’

    Marilyn Stasio

    April 7, 2019: In Broadway’s new “Oklahoma!,” the audience is just a pounding heartbeat away from Daniel Fish’s revisionist treatment of this iconic American musical. There’s still “a bright golden haze on the meadow” in the 1943 classic by Rodgers and Hammerstein — but here there are also fully stocked gun racks up on the walls, just to remind us how the West was really won. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that director Fish has deconstructed this beloved warhorse (which was a groundbreaker in its own day, it should be remembered): Nowadays, I think they drum you out of the Directors Guild if you direct a classic the way it was written. The wonder of this production is that so much of the joy and optimism of the original work still shines bright through the darkness.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Oklahoma!

    'Oklahoma!': Theater Review

    David Rooney

    April 7, 2019: There's no denying the abundant pleasures to be had from a sumptuous large-scale revival of a classic American musical with a top-flight cast. But a bold reimagining of a familiar work from the canon can deliver an altogether different and far more startling thrill, bringing out unexpected textures and exposing previously subterranean thematic seams. The virtues of a revisionist production don't negate those of the traditional presentation, or vice versa. As the song says, "the farmer and the cowman should be friends." Purists will sniff anyway, but for audiences open to experiencing Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! from a fresh perspective, director Daniel Fish's probing revamp will be a revelation. Without altering the existing text, Fish and his excellent 12-member ensemble shine a new light on this corn-fed tale of two romantic triangles, one played for drama, the other for laughs. What's significantly different is that a show normally interpreted as a celebration of the American spirit here unearths the darkness beneath the sunny surface — the blood in the soil of the heartland and the fear-based hostility toward outsiders that continues to fester today.

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  • THE DAILY BEAST REVIEW OF Oklahoma!

    This ‘Oklahoma!’ on Broadway Is Dark and Different—Brilliantly So

    Tim Teeman

    April 7, 2019: When the lights go out during Bard Summerscape’s astonishing production of Oklahoma!, which opens Sunday night on Broadway (Circle in the Square, to Sept. 1), your body tenses. This first blackout happens during the first confrontation between Curly McLain (Damon Daunno) and Jud Fry (Patrick Vaill), and soon the Circle in the Square is thrumming with Curly’s menacing whisper, encouraging a frightening, lonely, and unstable Jud to end his own life. The men’s words to each other are said straight into microphones and come to our unnerved ears as shafts of light slowly re-illuminate the space around us. We see Jud’s terrified, terrifying face fill the wall, as filmed by camera. That darkness is not just confined to one scene but is spiritually draped over Daniel Fish’s daring, brilliant, utterly absorbing re-interpretation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 musical play; a first in itself. Next would come Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949), and The King and I (1951). Like modern productions of those musical plays, this version of Oklahoma! interrogates themes of gender, class, desire, crime, and punishment.

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