The actor Mary Testa is always surprised to look up at the end of Oklahoma! and see the audience at Broadway’s Circle in the Square (booking to Sept. 1) enthusiastically clapping along with the reprise of that musical’s title song.
At this point of Daniel Fish’s reimagined Oklahoma! in which Testa plays an exceedingly spiky Aunt Eller, the show’s antagonist Jud Fry (Patrick Vaill) has died, but it is the manner of his death and what it says about this community that makes cheery clapping really not the audience reaction you would expect.
If you have come for them, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s songs are intact and beautifully played and sung in this Oklahoma! But Fish’s critically acclaimed production is entirely not in keeping with tradition.
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