Everything is OK in Oklahoma!

The cast and crew of Oklahoma prove that a high school musical can create a Broadway level performance.

Senior Kennedy Naseem played Ado Annie in Oklahoma. Photo by Brynna Namanny

On Friday Nov. 19, the second performance of Oklahoma! was put on at the PAC. The musical is the second performance since the COVID outbreak in 2020. Set in 1906, Oklahoma! takes a step back into the days where women were submissive and spent their days on frivolities. It focuses on a lively group of characters in the Oklahoma Territory, Laurey (senior Madeline Belcher), Curly (senior Patrick Sheeley), Aunt Eller (freshman Kaylen King), Will Parker (senior Andrew Letch) and Ado Annie (senior Kennedy Naseem), as they prepare for the long anticipated Box Social, a get-together where boxed lunches made by the women are auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Some critics would argue that the plot was anti-climatic for the most part, with the majority of audience engagement happening in the first hour of the musical. Some would say this is partially due to it running an hour over the allotted time slot of 7-9 p.m. with no explanation as to why. Several mistakes occurred, such as dropping props and the mysterious disappearance of Jud’s smokehouse during the final set change. This was reminiscent of vaudeville and actually left me engaged.

The obsessive characteristics portrayed by Jud Fry (senior Jonah Lively) resemble that of You protagonist Joe Goldberg with parallels being drawn as they both develop an extreme and toxic obsession with a girl that caused them to act out violently to gain her attention. The deliverance of his scenes left the audience wondering: “Where did he get the knife? How did he get the knife?” and eventually “He died from a kick in the gut?” The blackouts in the plot line during these parts left the audience struggling to follow along.

Senior Madeline Belcher played Laury in Oklahoma. Photo by Chloe Gerardy

The characters of Ado Annie and Will Parker continued to keep everyone entertained during their over-the-top scenes. “I Cain’t Say No” was a particular favorite of mine due to Naseem’s eratic stage presence. Sophomore Nathan Middleton was another stand out with his portrayal of the energetic and comedic Ike Skidmore. His overexaggerated interaction with the Little Wonder encased the room in fits of laughter.

Although the live production of Oklahoma! wasn’t as romantically inclined as the 1955 movie, the set design, props and comedic relief shown throughout provided for a thoroughly enjoyable night. For those wanting to attend the theater department’s next performance, Fools tickets can be purchased here starting Mar. 28.

Check out another Oklahoma! story written by Kaiya Lynch on page 16 and 17 of our September 2021 issue here.