Oklahoma has come to Nevada with Green Valley High School’s latest musical production. Often considered the first modern musical, this initial teaming of Rodgers and Hammerstein includes such immortal hits as Oh, What a Beautiful Morning, People Will Say We’re in Love, The Surrey with the Fringe on Top, and the big title number. 

Director Christie Lewis’s production is a strong one with a quality set featuring Laurey’s farmhouse and a windmill, fine costumes, a live orchestra, and an impressive cast that boasts a number of great, young vocal talents to make those immortal songs shine.

Set at the turn of the century just before Oklahoma became a state, the story follows the romance between farmer’s daughter Laurey and cowman Curly who keep tripping over their pride every time they meet. Paul Rasmussen is Curly who kicks off the show with his smooth singing of Oh, What a Beautiful Morning. Carly Richardson has a rich, dreamy voice as Laurey with a personality nicely reminiscent of Shirley Jones in the film version, while also displaying a fun sense of humor in the creatively staged Many a New Day where the female ensemble pretends to be potential male suitors that she rejects.

And then there is the town’s love triangle that generates most of the show’s humor, a triangle that revolves around Laurey’s best friend Ado Annie who just cain’t say no when men start talking pretty to her, played with a good mix of naivety and enthusiastic passion by Ariel Swainston. Will Parker (Charlie Gott with good vocal work) is the not-so-smart but mostly loyal local cowhand who is fixin’ to marry her if’n he can save up fifty dollars. But then in rides the peddler man Ali Hakim. Actually, this peddler man sort of stumbles in. Steve Casillas changes the role from a suave ladies’ man to a bumbling nerd, and he totally pulls it off with his unique personality and his hysterical vocal and physical mannerisms.

Other highlights include the haunting singing of Lonely Room by Laurey-stalker Jud Fry (Ben Smith), some great laughs (a laugh mocked well by Laurey) and catty jealousy by Curly-stalker Gertie Cummings (Anna Hayes), and Lisa Fischel whose tremendous portrayal of Aunt Eller, a performance filled with earthy kindness, strength, genuine feelings for Laurey and Curly, a bit of mischievousness, and more than a bit of orneriness, combines to provide the heart and soul of this show. The ensemble shows a range of good singing voices in the Dream Sequence, good comedy in Many a New Day, and they nail the big number Oklahoma!

Performs February 1-10, 2007.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Aunt Eller: Lisa Fischel
Curly: Paul Rasmussen
Laurey: Carly Richardson
Will Parker: Charlie Gott
Jud Fry: Ben Smith
Ado Annie: Ariel Swainston
Ali Hakim: Steve Casillas
Gertie Cummings: Anna Hayes
Andrew Carnes: Elan Andruss
Skidmore: Brandon Luce
Slim: Cory Ledoux
Cord Elam: Dan Button
Dance Twins: Candice Farrell and Taylor Rozich
Laurey's Dream Double: Christie Garland
Female Ensemble:
Allyson Busch
Kristina Cirone
Gretta Grohert
Megan Hermansen
Tatum Lee
Sylvia Lovato
McCall Magness
Christina McAllister
Torri Nelon
Kasidy Seegmiller
Lauren Scott
Natalie Timpson
Laura Walton
Male Ensemble:
Alex Baskin
Chris Gubler
Sam La
Travis Rote
Josh Wright

Director: Christie Lewis
Vocal Direction: Kimberly Drusedum
Orchestra Direction: Diane Koutsulis
Choreography: Jared Hunt
Technical Director: Jennifer Hemme
Stage Manager: Nicole Scuderi
Lighting Designer: Ricky Staffieri
Costume Mistress: Britney Shamblin


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