Tag Archives: Oklahoma

“Oklahoma!” At The Trinity Rep


Oh, What A Beautiful Production

This is an Okalahoma! not to be missed.

reviewed by Bobby Franklin

Charlie Thurston as Curly and Rachael Warren as Laurey (center) Photo by Mark Turek
Charlie Thurston as Curly and Rachael Warren as Laurey (center)
Photo by Mark Turek

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Okalahoma!, now playing at the Trinity Rep in Providence, RI is an outstanding production of one of the greatest musicals of all time. It is staged in an intimate atmosphere that along with the stage, includes three platforms that are placed among the audience, and where much of the cast spends time during the performance. It works beautifully.

From the moment Curly, played by the very talented Charlie Thurston, steps onto the stage to sing Oh, What A Beautiful Morning, you know this is going to be a joy to watch.

Mr. Thurston has a perfect voice for the role

Mr. Thurston has a perfect voice for the role and the acting ability to go with it. He is joined by Rachel Warren as Laurey, and they are wonderful together; you would think the roles were created for just them. They sparkle and hearing them sing is delightful.

Judd (Joe Wilson) and Curly (Charlie Thurston) Photo by Mark Turek
Judd (Joe Wilson) and Curly (Charlie Thurston)
Photo by Mark Turek

There is a dark side to Okalahoma! that is seen in the character of Judd Fry played by Trinity regular Joe Wilson, Jr. Mr. Wilson uses his excellent acting abilities to bring a humanity to a very dark figure in the play. I have not seen many productions of the play, but I do know that Joe was able to evoke sympathy from the audience for Judd, whom many will remember mostly as the evil creature portrayed by Rod Steiger in the movie version. With his subtle and pained expressions he brought a depth to a character that deserves to be better understood, and, in this version, is.

This is not, of course, a full scale Broadway production, but in many ways it is better. It does have an orchestra consisting of six musicians who are as good as any you will hear. They are on the mark throughout the play, and you couldn’t ask for more.

Rebecca Gibel as Ado Annie Carnes and Stephen Thorne as Ali Hakim Photo by Mark Turek
Rebecca Gibel as Ado Annie Carnes and Stephen Thorne as Ali Hakim
Photo by Mark Turek

The entire cast is nearly flawless. Janice Duclos as Aunt Eller conveys a strength of character and kindness. Stephen Thorne in the role of Ali Hakim keeps us smiling as the traveling salesman who is trying to avoid a shotgun wedding. Jude Sandy as Will Parker makes the audience feel like shouting to him as the character seems determined to keep making the wrong decisions. Jude is always just one step away from losing everything.

Finally, included in this great cast is Rebecca Gibel as Ado Annie.

Ms Gibel has talent, real talent.

Ms Gibel has talent, real talent.She is funny, sings beautifully, and can act. The way she conveys Annie’s pent up sexuality by using body tremors along with her facial expressions and absolutely entrancing eyes is just breathtaking. Oh, and she is funny, very funny. In a cast that is abundant with talent, Rebecca Gibel showed that she has what it takes to go far. I look forward to seeing her as she continues on what should be a marvelous career.

This is an Okalahoma! not to be missed. It is warm and intimate. It is full of life’s good and bad. Be good to yourself and travel the short distance to Providence to see this play. You will not be disappointed.


Directed and Choreographed by Richard and Sharon Jenkins

Playing through June 5th

Box Office: 401-351-4242 www.trinityrep.com


A fresh take on a classic helmed by 2015 Emmy Award winner Richard Jenkins and Sharon Jenkins May 5-June 5, 2016Oklahoma art 4 web

PROVIDENCE, RI: Trinity Rep closes out its 52nd season Rebels, Renegades and Pioneers with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, directed and choreographed by 2015 Emmy Award winner Richard Jenkins and Sharon Jenkins. Oklahoma! runs May 5-June 5, 2016.

At the turn of the 20th century in the western territories, cowboy Curly vies with mysterious farmhand Jud for the heart of Laurey, the woman they both love. Packed with humor, romance, square dances and an unforgettable score, Oklahoma! is a portrait of both the naiveté and complexity of American pioneer settlers.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Richard and Sharon bringing their signature style and relentless approach to Oklahoma!,” artistic director Curt Columbus said of the pair that brought Trinity Rep’s critically acclaimed 2014 production of Oliver! to life. “They are an incredible team, because of their commitment to emotionally evocative story telling through world class acting. Richard and Sharon personify what it means to be Trinity Rep artists. This is sure to be an Oklahoma! unlike any other.”

The cast includes Trinity Rep resident acting company members Janice Duclos, Rebecca Gibel, Stephen Thorne, Charlie Thurston, Rachael Warren and Joe Wilson, Jr., with Shura Baryshnikov, Royer Bockus, Jon Cooper, Taavon Gamble, Tom Gleadow, Kevin Patrick Martin, Jude Sandy, Hannah Spacone and Stephen Ursprung.

The design team includes Michael Rice (music direction), Eugene Lee (set and lighting design), Toni Spadafora (costume design), Peter Sasha Hurowitz (sound design) and stage manager Kristen Gibbs.

Richard Rodgers (composer, 1902–1979) and Oscar Hammerstein II (librettist/lyricist, 1895–1960) joined forces in 1943, creating the most successful partnership in American musical theatre. Oklahoma!, their first musical together, was the first of a new genre—the musical play—blending Rodgers’ sophisticated style of musical comedy with Hammerstein’s innovations in operetta. Oklahoma! was followed by Carousel (1945), Allegro (1947), South

Pacific (1949), The King and I (1951), Me and Juliet (1953), Pipe Dream (1955), Flower Drum Song (1958) and The Sound of Music (1959). The team also wrote one movie musical, State Fair (1945; adapted to the stage, 1995), and one for television, Cinderella (1957; adapted to the stage, 2011). Their musicals have garnered awards including: Pulitzer Prizes, and Tony, Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy Awards, in addition to Drama Desk, Drama Critics’ Circle, Outer Critics’ Circle, Laurence Olivier, and Evening Standard Awards.

Director Richard Jenkins was a Trinity Rep acting company member for 14 seasons, starting in 1970. He served as artistic director for four seasons (1990-1994) and directed numerous productions during that time. Richard has appeared in over 60 feature films, the HBO drama series Six Feet Under, and has been nominated for three Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Independent Spirit Awards, a Critics Choice Award, a Gotham Award, and received a Satellite Award, a Spotlight Award, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance in The Visitor. Recent credits include the film God’s Pocket with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Trinity Rep’s own Peter Gerety, as well as his Emmy-winning role opposite Frances McDormand in Olive Kitteridge.

Director and choreographer Sharon Jenkins has worked as a choreographer on productions at Trinity Rep for over 40 years, where she has worked with artistic directors Adrian Hall, Richard Jenkins, Amanda Dehnert, Oskar Eustis, and Curt Columbus. She has choreographed The Music Man, Annie, West Side Story, The Fantasticks, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Cabaret, Camelot and Oliver!. Sharon spent 20 years as the dance director at Hope Arts Magnet School in Providence, 15 years as a dance specialist with the RI State Council on the Arts, 10 years as a dancer with RI Dance Rep, and 10 years as choreographer for The Arabella Project. In addition to her work at Trinity Rep, she has worked at Long Wharf Theatre, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, Center Stage, South Coast Rep and was the choreographer for Paramount Pictures feature School Ties.

website at www.trinityrep.com