The RSC Theatre Program performed Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical “Oklahoma!” Oct. 22 - Oct. 25 at the Hudiburg Chevrolet Center. With a cast that was a mix of students, professionals and community members, the production was an enjoyable ensemble that vividly brought the show and its sense of community to life.
Centered around a farm social at the time of Oklahoma’s transition to statehood, the musical follows the romance between cowboy Curly McClain (Kasey Yeargain) and farm girl Laurey Williams (Veronica Battersby). When Curly comes to see if Laurey would be his date, Laurey feigns disinterest and instead agrees to go to the social with farmhand Jud Fry (Joe Burleigh), a lonely and despicable man obsessed with her. This dramatic love triangle is the heart of the play, as well as the more comedic love triangle between helpless romantic Ado Annie (Jenny Rottermeyer), farmboy Will Parker (Scott Hynes) and Persian peddler Ali Hakim (Zachary Wright).
The production as a whole was an impressive display from set changes and lighting to vocals and acting, everything came together as quite an ensemble piece. Yeargain’s strong vocals were by far the show’s musical highlight, carrying such tunes as “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” and the titular “Oklahoma!”. Battersby matched him fairly well in the duets, and the comical tunes performed by Rottermeyer elicited many a laugh from the audience.
When speaking on why the Theatre Program chose “Oklahoma!”, Professor of Theater Rick Nelson described the musical as a timeless classic that could still resonate with the local community. And with its good humor, perseverance and optimism for the future, “Oklahoma!” continues to capture some of the essential elements of Oklahoma and its people.