by Tess Tabak
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma is gloriously weird, an experimental triumph. It forever changed the landscape of Broadway when it debuted in 1943. Previously, songs tended to be interchangeable – removing them would have little impact on the story. Oklahoma set a new standard where songs were expected to advance the plot.
Last year, director Daniel Fish opened a conceptual, pared-down revival meant to reveal Oklahoma’s “darkness.” It’s received heaps of praise for revealing the show’s uncomfortable center. His pretentious, sexist, creepy production is up against Kiss Me Kate for Best Revival of a Musical this year. Oklahoma is almost certainly going to take home the Tony, and I hate it.
More than celebrating Oklahoma’s darkness, the show seems like an exercise in onanism for Fish, who basks in his “auter” vision. The actors sit around and pout, much like they do in the promo video below. Continue reading