photo: AdamsVisCom

“Oklahoma!” is  on stage at the Denver Performing Arts Center through October 14.

I loved the ambiance with several stages and shows happening at once. Typically this show has an all white cast.  This cast, however, was all black.

There’s actually quite a bit of history behind that choice: In Oklahoma during the 1900s there were 50 all-black towns. Only 13 survived the Jim Crow laws.

“Oklahoma!” is a love story written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II that takes place in the early 1900s.

Curly (Antoine L. Smith), a young farmer, is trying to catch the attention of Laurey Williams (Ta’Nika Gibson), who is being courted by the sinister farm hand, Jud Fry (Barrington Lee).

Meanwhile Ado Annie (Bre Jackson), a boy-crazy young lady, must decide between two men: Ali Hakim (Cooper Grodin), a peddler, and Will Parker (Rennie Anthony Magee), a farmer. There are two stories tied into one.  

Ado Annie was one of my favorite characters because she is very funny and sassy.

The musical is well-performed with excellent singing, acting, and dancing. There are a few dark moments, but they don’t last long, as there were many comedic characters. The first act got a little boring at times, but the second act was more exciting.

The musical is appropriate for children and the DCPA recommends it for eight and older. There were a few violent scenes, a couple of loud gunshots, and an accidental death.  The violence wasn’t bad, though younger kids might get bored. It is a love story, but it never gets too romantic and there’s not much kissing. The story also tells you a lot about the lives of the rest of the town citizens.

One of my favorite parts was the dancing, with both tap and ballet in the production.

 The story has a happy ending, and most of the songs are upbeat. I really loved this experience, and I think anyone who enjoys musicals or love stories will enjoy it, too.