Riding the wave of fireworks and celebrations as this Independence Day holiday subsides is the breaking news that casting for Paramount’s Oklahoma! is complete! As I write this, church bells ring across the river! Look for the official announcement of the cast here next week! Get me some fireworks!
Via Skype yesterday, I had a meeting with our Oklahoma! Choreographer, Katie Spelman, who is in London. Katie is remounting Broadway Director/Choreographer Stephen Hogget’s What’s It All About? Burt Bacharach Reimagined which played Off-Broadway last year. We had a fascinating talk about the dances, the great tradition established by Agnes DeMille’s groundbreaking Broadway debut upon that historical opening night in 1943. Intriguing that here we are 72 years later challenged by the hidden complexities of this work. No walk in the park, DeMille’s nightmare concept of a Dream Ballet, speaks to us, leads and compels us to find our own interpretation of the conflict in Laurey’s story. Katie is an artist with a strong point of view, and I can tell you that what is developing is edge of your seat, riveting.
There is the classic battle of the sexes in how the play’s Curly and Laurey experience self-discovery in what they are capable of with a surprisingly nuanced psychology in the writing, a dark side of insecurities, disappointments…particularly as the triangle involves Judd, the outsider…all their vulnerabilities exposed, frank, raw. And the delights on the flip side, the comic love triangle of Ado Annie, Will Parker and Ali Hakim contrast with their sure headed, confident proclamations of what they’ve discovered along their way on the path to romance. The early feminist bent in “Many a New Day” fascinates. Such a sweet, lilting tune which must be played against with its poetically defiant lyric. The subtle class difference between farmers and cowmen and who owns what. Curly sleeps under the stars. What’s he got to offer farm owner Laurey anyway? The more profound the conflict the more ecstatic the beauty and joy of the dance and music that rises out of it! Imagine our Paramount Orchestra filling our gorgeous theater with the full, original orchestrations: “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” “Out of My Dreams,” “Can’t Say No,” “Oklahoma!”…YEOW!
See ya next week!
Love & thanks,