‘Oklahoma!’, one of the most iconic musicals of our time has been reimagined with a modern, refreshing and haunting new production
As a longtime musical theater lover, I have seen all the classic musicals many times so it will come as no surprise that I was really excited and intrigued about seeing the newly reimagined modern interpretation of OKLAHOMA! now playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. This new staging of Oklahoma! does not change the story or dialog of the original, however it has completely changed the staging, costumes and type casting of the characters by modernizing it with simplistic sets, streamlining the costumes likes jeans and t-shirts rather than the more ornate costumes and pageantry of the original.
However, the two most significant and refreshing changes in this version of Oklahoma! are the dark macabre staging and periodic haunting tone of the show as well as the wonderfully diverse and unexpected casting of many of the characters. My favs were Laurey played by the gorgeous light skinned African American actress Sasha Hutchings (What a voice she has!) and Ado Annie played by the charismatic and show-stopping Sis (she steals the show!), a voluptuous African American transgender woman.
Right from the start this new Oklahoma! sets itself apart from the original with a brightly lit stage and all the actors sporadically seated at tables on the stage and coming to ‘life’ at various points during the scene and story. This new version is fresh, modern, proactive, fun, refreshing, dark, macabre and haunting. It really takes Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical to a whole new level that moves you, makes you think and it sticks with you long after the show ends. I can’t stop thinking about the ending!
This is one of those shows that you really need to see to in order to fully understand how they have modernized and reimangined it, so if you are a theater buff make sure to get your tickets to see Oklahoma! now through October 16, 2022.