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Oklahoma! – Broadway Revival 1979

Oklahoma! – Broadway Revival 1979

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Synopsis

The action takes place in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) just after the turn of the twentieth century. ACT I It is a radiant summer morning. Aunt Eller (Mary Wickes), a buxom, hearty woman, sits churning butter, looking out over the meadow. Curly (Laurence Guittard), a local ranch hand, comes sauntering by (“Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’”). Curly really has come calling to invite Aunt Eller’s niece, Laurey (Christine Andreas), the girl he would marry, to the box social that night but tries hard not to express his honest feelings. When Laurey, who won’t admit how crazy she is about Curly, comes out of the house, the two argue back and forth about how much each doesn’t want anything to do with the other. Laurey wants to go to the party in style and says Curly can’t escort her that way (“The Surrey with the Fringe on Top”). Ike Skidmore (Robert Ray) and Slim (Stephen Crain) come by to borrow Aunt Eller’s big wagon. Just then Will Parker (Harry Groener), a favorite young neighbor of Aunt Eller’s. drops by to tell about the high time he had at the fair in “Kansas City.” He also explains how he won the $50 Judge Andrew Carnes (Philip Rash), father of Ado Annie (Christine Ebersole), insisted he needed in order to marry her. When Jud Fry (Martin Vidnovic), Laurey’s hired hand, announces he’s taking her to the social, Curly, for spite, invites Aunt Eller to ride with him in the classy rig he has rented. After Curly leaves – and Jud goes back to his chores – Laurey begs Aunt Eller to ride with Jud and her. She’s really scared of him, too frightened to have turned him down. Laurey is convinced there’s “sumpin wrong inside” Jud – the dirty pictures tacked to his wall, the lecherous way he looks at her, his late-night meanderings. Ado Annie comes by and learns that Will Parker is home. While he was gone she kind of took up with the peddler-man Ali Hakim (Bruce Adler). She’s not always in complete control of her emotions when she’s with a man, but she sure does like to be kissed (“I Cain’t Say No”). Will’s return has confused Annie. She’s not sure now who she wants to marry. And what she certainly hasn’t figured out is that Ali’s propositions have never included any thought of marriage, at least not for him. When Ali shows up, he goes into his spiel, selling doodads, romantic elixirs, fancy unmentionables, et al., to the ladies. He does just fine until Annie asks him straight out if he’s going to marry her. Ali, fortunately, doesn’t have to answer right away, because Will shows up to tell Annie he won the money her father said he needed – and bought her presents with it. The yard is now filled with lots of couples waiting for a ride to the box social. Laurey is still put out with Curly, and when he and the rest of the boys leave to help Aunt Eller with the hampers, she tells the other girls how little she cares (“Many a New Day”). Ali can’t shed the impression he’s made on Annie quite yet. When her father hears that Will spent the $50 on gifts, he takes aim at Ali for fooling around with his daughter. It’s marry Annie or else. Ali gets the message, but he is burning (“It’s a Scandal! It’s a Outrage!”). Gertie Cummings (Martha Traverse) wants Curly to take her to the social. That doesn’t go down too well with Laurey, even though Laurey is still being coy about her feelings. She’s very hesitant about showing her true emotions because of the rumors that would start (“People Will Say We’re in Love”). Curly asks Laurey to go to the party with him instead of with Jud. When she won’t change her mind. Curly says he’s going down to the smokehouse to see what makes Jud so special. Jud is pacing, polishing his pistol, acting like a caged animal, hearing imagined noises when Curly enters and not happy to see him. Curly talks glowingly about how wise a move it would be if Jud hung himself – it would make him popular for the first time in his life, even would make women come to his funeral and sing as though their hearts were breaking (“Pore Jud Is Daid”). Jud grabs his gun and shoots wildly at the ceiling. He doesn’t hit much of anything, fortunately, but it brings everyone rushing down to the smokehouse. Ali, always the peddler, tries to sell Jud some dirty pictures to relieve his loneliness. And, of course, he offers to give him Ado Annie. Jud wants no part of Annie or pictures or being shut up alone any longer (“Lonely Room”). Laurey and her girl friends are gathered, waiting to leave for the social. They’re all teasing her about going with Jud instead of with Curly, the one she so obviously is in love with. Upset, Laurey wants time to think, to try to see things more clearly (“Out of My Dreams”). In the subsequent ballet, she daydreams, nightmarishly, seeing much too vividly the problems she’s having with Jud and with Curly and with her romance. ACT II The party is in full swing at the Skidmore ranch house when Andrew Carnes has his say about the territorial conflicts between two groups of men (“The Farmer and the Cowman”). A free-for-all erupts that threatens to end the whole affair until Aunt Eller takes charge and cools things off. It’s time to start the bidding for each girl’s hamper. Ali, still trying to maneuver his way out of marrying Ado Annie, contrives to bid $50 for all the gifts Will bought at the fair. He finally gets the money and the girl into Will’s hands, then has to make another desperate bid to keep Will from idiotically spending his cash again. It works out, at last – to Ali’s great relief. Lots of people bid for Laurey’s hamper, Even Cord Elam (Nick Jolley), the federal marshal, goes as high as $5. But, as the bidding goes up and up and up. Jud tops each competitor by two bits. Till Curly gets into it, selling off his saddle, then his horse, then his gun to raise enough immediate cash to buy the hamper. Jud swears there’s no hard feelings. Will and Ado Annie set the date. Will figures it’s time to lay down a few new rules for the way his girl acts toward men (“All Er Nuthin’”). Jud dances Laurey off alone. When he tries to force himself on her, she gets mad and tells him how she really feels about him, how much he disgusts her; then she fires him on the spot. Jud skulks away, threatening revenge. A few moments later Curly finds the distraught Laurey. She runs to him for protection. He proposes, and finally she admits how she feels – “People Will Say We’re in Love (reprise).” Three weeks later Laurey and Curley get married (“Oklahoma”). Gertie shows up at the festivities with a brand-new husband. Ali Hakim. He had succumbed, quite unwillingly, four days earlier, trapped by the shot-gun suggestion of her father. Uninvited and unwanted, Jud shows up; when he tries to kiss Laurey, Curly pushes him away. Jud attacks Curly with a knife and in the struggle falls on it, killing himself. Cord Elam wants to take Curly into town for a trial, but instead of jailing Curly on his wedding night, Judge Carnes decides to hold court right there. The immediate verdict is “Not guilty.” And Curly and Laurey start off on their honeymoon – “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ (reprise).”

Credits

Aunt Eller: Mary Wickes Curly: Laurence Guittard Laurey: Christine Andreas Ike Skidmore: Robert Ray Slim: Stephen Crain Will Parker: Harry Groener Jud Fry: Martin Vidnovic Ado Annie Carnes: Christine Ebersole Ali Hakim: Bruce Adler Gertie Cummings: Martha Traverse Andrew Carnes: Philip Rash Cord Elam: Nick Jolley Dream Ballet: Laurey: Louise Hickey Curly: David Evans Jud: Anthony Santiago The Child: Judy Epstein Postcards: Patti Ross, Ilene Strickler, Susan Whelan Singers: Sydney Anderson, Stephen Crain, Lorraine Foreman, Nick Holley, John Kidahl, Jessica Molaskey, Joel T. Myers, Philip Rash, Robert Ray, Martha Traverse, M. Lynne Wieneke