7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An excellent adaptation of a Broadway classic,
This review is from: Oklahoma! [DVD] (DVD)
This is a filming of the Trevor Nunn version of the musical that first opened in London and then came over to Broadway. For many who may recall Oklahoma! only through the movie with Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, this should be a welcome new look. This version is energetic with the cowboys looking scruffy and with the characters much more clearly defined. Curly and Laurie are played by actors who do their own dancing as well as singing. Curly is played by Hugh Jackman as a strutting, confident young man. Jackman brings a lot of skill to the part as actor, singer and dancer. More importantly, he brings a lot of charisma and likeability. Josefina Gabrielle plays Laurie as a tomboy, but shy and thoughtful...and probably smarter than Curly. And Shuler Hensley as Jud Fry dominates his scenes. His Jud is surly and mean, but also torn by loneliness, a guy who is almost inarticulate with resentment. His "Lonely Room" becomes a powerful song. Jimmy Johnston plays Will Parker with great energy and, as with Jackman, great likeability.
Oklahoma! stands the test of time for a couple of reasons, I think. The story line is extremely simple, but it's the simplicity that makes the characters so attractive. Except for Jud Fry, there's no angst or psychological spinning. The toughest question is, will Curly get to take Laurie to the dance? The second reason is Rodgers and Hammerstein's terrific score. If there's a weak song in the show I didn't notice it. I particularly like "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top" and "Out of my Dreams." Surrey is a gem of a wooing song...sweet, a little funny but then very touching. The music is memorable yet easy to recall, and Hammerstein's lyric, in my view, is a classic example of the use of concrete imagery to evoke feelings. "Out of My Dreams," to me, is simply one of the best waltzes written, and one that captures perfectly Laurie's longings.
This is a filmed recording of the stage show, but through careful editing never seems especially static. There's an extra about how the show was put together which is interesting. The DVD picture is first class.