With perilous fight scenes, Persian goodbyes, and plaid shirts galore, Oklahoma! was an upbeat production which no student should have missed. Fortunately, the music department made the show’s four performances from the 16th through 19th of April free to every student with school ID. Thus, no student was deprived of witnessing the Tony Award winning romance of Curly McLain and Laurey Williams, and the sad demise of Jud Fry.
As seen in previous musicals, assemblies and extra curricular activities, Central is home to many outstanding actors, dancers and singers. Oklahoma! showcased the talents of many students, who each played their characters, and their various quirks, without flaw. Emma Deckop (276) played Laurey’s friend Virginia in Oklahoma! this year, and also participated in Aida last year. Emma explains how she felt more comfortable in her second Central show: “As a freshman, last year I was a little shy and intimidated by everyone. Since then I have really found my place in the musical theater program and consider everyone fam[ily].”
Of course, this outstanding production could not have been possible without those who actually set the scene for the fantastic cast: the stage crew. The stage crew consists of the students who help get the props ready for use, put together costumes, and direct sound and lighting, among countless other responsibilities. These students devote nearly as much time to the musical as the cast does; spending their afternoons working on various jobs to get the stage ready for action. Ava Kelly (276) worked on stage crew last year with props. This year, she has been upgraded to props manager. She states that in Aida last year there were many active props, making the job somewhat difficult. However, Oklahoma! was slightly easier: “This year there weren’t that many, so it wasn’t too stressful.” Stage crew is still a very rewarding experience, “I like being helpful and behind the scenes,” says Ava.
Oklahoma! is known for its iconic soundtrack, featuring timeless songs such as “Pore Jud is Daid”, and “People Will Say We’re in Love,” which was reprised and featured in the Finale Ultimo of the production. Central’s orchestra, conducted by the fabulous Mr. Blazer, did justice to these popular songs. The orchestra played beautifully throughout the long Overture of the musical, and during the nearly twenty songs featured in the performance. Cellist Lile Harrison shares how much work playing in the orchestra requires: “It took a lot of long rehearsals, hours upon hours of practicing and a lot of patience to put on the show.” Nevertheless, Lile says he enjoyed the majority of the music he played.
Central’s Oklahoma! was received well by its students, who greatly enjoyed the charming and traditional musical. To Rachel Steining (276) the musicians were the highlight of the show. “My favorite part was the pit orchestra,” she said, “they were amazing.”
Many people saw the school show to support their friends. Isaac Gordon, a freshman, said, “It was cool seeing my friends act.” Jessica Hobbs-Pifer, also 277, thought, “everyone did a really nice job and the sets looked great.” Sophomore Asa Cadwallader agreed, praising the musical on its excellent acting and choreography, but thought the concept of the show might have been a bit foreign: “Central is an urban school and Oklahoma! may have been difficult to relate to for many students, including myself.” Despite the possible locational and generational gap, the love story of Oklahoma! was easy to follow and the talent of Central is always well worth watching.
Though their admission to Oklahoma! was free, most students would agree that they’d have paid well over “two bits” to see this year’s spring musical.
Isabella Baff (276)