Oklahoma! (1998 Royal National Theatre Recording)
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Stellar cast and wonderful music
Oklahoma! is one of my favourite musicals and this stellar cast more than does it justice. My favourites are Vicki Simon as Ado Annie and Jimmy Johnston as Will Parker - they have really good chemistry and are a handsome pair. Vicki is just about unknown - there is nothing about her on the internet apart from Oklahoma - and this is definitely undeserved as she is a fine acting and singing talent. Hugh Jackman as Curly and Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey also have great chemistry and are fantastic singers. Josefina holds the distinction of being the first Laurey ever to dance her own "Dream Ballet". Everyone has brilliant, believable accents, except Peter Polycarpou (Ali Hakim)'s accent doesn't sound very Persian and isn't really the same throughout the show but that's the only real criticism. The ensemble is very strong with excellent dancers and singers present.
All the songs in Oklahoma! are relevant, either to the storyline or to characters' feelings at that point and most of the original orchestrations were kept for this production. Only the overture was completely redone, however, it's still as wonderful as the original and Rogers and Hammerstein are one of my favourite composing partnerships.