From Oct. 15-22, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” occupied ENC’s stage, and the musical garnered laughter from beginning to end.
The vocal pairing between Hillary Sunberg-Detwiler (Laurey Williams) and Samuel Kish (Curly McLain) complemented each other perfectly, as well as their characters’ chemistry that lit up the stage around them.
The love triangle between Ado Annie (Kayla Rearick Kish), Will Parker (Toan Nguyen), and Ali Hakim (Evan Detwiler) was accentuated perfectly; all three actors brought out each other’s uniqueness easily and comically. Whenever Detwiler came on stage, the audience couldn’t help but chuckle, along with Kayla Kish’s creative portrayal of the clueless and care-free Ado Annie and Will Parker’s lack of common sense.
The darkest, and perhaps most impressive, performance was by Eli Malo, who played Jud Fry. The sinister portrayal of the character provided the musical with the serious content it needed to wrestle with the predicament Laurey finds herself in. Expressing his deep desire for a woman and pining for people’s respect, Malo stares coldly off into the distance in a way that gets under the audience’s skin. The only cure for it is the comically dark duet “Poor Jud is Daid” between Curly and Jud.
The addition of a live orchestra made the play even more delightful. Not only was there singing, but there were a number of complicated dance numbers that included the entire cast.
It was entertaining to watch familiar ENC professors in cowboy hats and boots, or farm dresses and braids. Somehow it made the play that much more personal, even though most of the cast was comprised of ENC students. Emily Holecy’s performance of Aunt Eller kept the story moving, motivating not only other members of the cast, but the audience as well with her sassy enthusiasm.
From the immaculately western set design and the lights to the acting and the singing, “Oklahoma!” was a huge hit for anyone who was lucky enough to attend.