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Herndon’s “Oklahoma!” brings the Midwest to Northern Virginia

Chris Papas, a student at Oakton High School, reviews Herndon High School’s “Oklahoma!” as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program.


Kirsten Lloyd from Herndon High School. (Photo by Adrian Morgan)

Through song and dance, the Virginia suburbs were transformed into the Midwest plains when Herndon High School put on their rendition of “Oklahoma!”

Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers’s musical tale tells a story of love in the Sooner state during the early 1900s. Curly (Trevor Morgan) and Laurey (Evi Dobbs) share a complicated relationship—one made more difficult by the villainous Jud Fry (Ian Gildea). Surrounded by a cast of colorful characters, the two lovers try to discover their true feelings for each other.

Morgan brought Curly to with his vocal abilities—an impressive feat in such a musically challenging production. His depiction of the cowboy’s roguish charm was both humorous and heartfelt. Dobbs as Laurey also proved herself to be a strong singer, and, together, the two had an authentic chemistry on stage. Joey Truncale played a lively Will Parker character with his timing, musical skills and dancing prowess. Andy Raoufi, as the “Persian” peddler Ali Hakim, created a loud, boisterous and funny character.

Some of the cast members were challenged by the thick accents and had a difficult time fully realizing their characters. And while some scenes lacked energy, overall, the vocal performances compensated.

“Oklahoma!” is a musical largely carried by its song and dance numbers—something not lost in Herndon’s performance. The choreography conveyed the plot and provided a graceful display of the cast’s dancing capabilities. Kirsten Lloyd, who played Laurey’s dream self, proved to be a captivating dancer. She pushed the show to a higher level.

Costuming, with its farm hand and cowboy garbs, was central in crafting the illusion of a different place and time. While there were some awkward lighting choices, it generally helped more than hindered the show.

The cast’s singing and dancing abilities buoyed Herndon’s production, which helped to transport the audience into the old Midwest.

By Chris Papas, Posted by Mario Iván Oña  |  December 24, 2009; 12:06 PM ET
 | Tags: Cappies 2009  
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