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Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! (London Stage Revival)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hugh Jackman and Maureen Lipman star in the multi-award-winning Royal National Theatre production of this beloved Broadway favorite! Songs include Oh What a Beautiful Morning, The Surrey with the Fringe on Top , the title classic and more. 1999/color/3 hrs/NR/fullscreen.

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When Mary Rodgers, daughter of the composer Richard Rodgers, was reported as saying she never wanted to see another Oklahoma!, it was her way of paying the highest tribute to Trevor Nunn's production at the Royal National Theatre which was subsequently taken into the studio and filmed. The camera follows the playgoers into the auditorium of the Olivier where in their company we watch the show and applaud the numbers as the real thing. Nunn treats Rodgers and Hammerstein's first collaboration with the utmost seriousness, restoring the full text so that it comes across as a drama indebted to Eugene O'Neill. Although Oklahoma! unfolds at a leisurely pace, it is extraordinary how one is drawn into the drama under Nunn's direction.

There's seldom a wish for true locations as the pace picks up and we move into the claustrophobic company of Judd Fry in his riveting encounter with the cowboy Curly. The close-up camera work affords an experience the theatre can't bring and also pays handsome dividends in appreciating Susan Stroman's intricate and lively choreography. Her dancers are a fine team, notably Jimmy Johnston who is outstanding as Will Parker leading the Kansas City ensemble. Hugh Jackman (X-Men) as Curly matches him in vocal prowess and looks, and Shuler Hensley sings the tricky role of Judd Fry very well. It's harder to place Peter Polycarpou's Pedlar, a considerably larger role than in the film version, whose accent strays from London's East End to the plains of Europe. Maureen Lipman, rightly deemed the lynchpin of the musical by Nunn, is a joy to watch as Aunt Eller. Laurey (Josefina Gabrielle) and Ado Annie (Vicki Simon) are good but not special. Aside from an abrupt start to Act Two and the occasional voice off microphone, the production sounds good with a larger orchestra present than in the theatre. An Oklahoma! on an epic scale. --Adrian Edwards

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Special Features

  • 2-disc set
  • 60-minute making-of program

Product Details

  • Actors: Maureen Lipman, Hugh Jackman, Josefina Gabrielle, David Shelmerdine, Jimmy Johnston
  • Directors: Trevor Nunn
  • Writers: Lynn Riggs, Oscar Hammerstein II
  • Producers: Andy Picheta, Chris Hunt, Richard Price
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000C23HY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,390 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! (London Stage Revival)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

142 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Miles D. Moore on August 21, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The 1999 London production of "Oklahoma!", directed by Trevor Nunn with choreography by Susan Stroman, was the first major departure ever from the original Joshua Logan-Agnes De Mille production of 1943. It was a gamble that paid off big, for the performance recorded for posterity on this DVD is absolutely brilliant--funny, riveting, and deeply poignant. The dancing is astonishing, and the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein songs have never sounded so good. Nunn and Stroman know how to stage each number for maximum dramatic effect, so that the songs come across less as songs than as dramatic monologues in music--which is, of course, exactly what Rodgers & Hammerstein wanted.

The cast of this version is so wonderful that it is impossible to talk about them in anything but superlatives. (I might make a slight, regretful exception for Vicki Simon as Ado Annie, who is merely very good whereas everyone else is spectacular.) As Will Parker, Jimmy Johnston--an endearing if improbable cross between Will Rogers, Russ Tamblyn and Jack Black--barrels through his big number, "Kansas City," with infectious glee and astounding athleticism, including a dandy exhibition of trick roping. Some reviewers have pointed out that Peter Polycarpou's accent as Ali Hakim is shaky, but there's no quibbling with his singing or his comic timing; in appearance and talent, he reminds me more than a little of Tony Shalhoub. Maureen Lipman is a perfect Aunt Eller, tough as an old birch tree, plain-spoken and drily witty as she dispenses tough love to the residents of Claremore, Okla. Josefina Gabrielle is an earthier Laurey than we're used to, but she's a good singer and an exquisite dancer, and she makes Laurey's confused longings as painful as a punch in the gut.
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By metraton on April 2, 2007
Format: DVD
I just watched this on PBS and ran immediately to the computer to order the DVD. I grew up working in local summer stock and community theatre--went on to major in theatre in undergrad before going to grad school for something more consistent with regular work. I worked on or was in a couple of productions of Oklahoma, and have seen several--some great, some not. I have always appreciated the wonderful music and the nearly operatic tone of the show. But before tonight, I had never seen this theatrical classic ACTED. It was spellbinding. Who knew what a great piece of drama this show could be? And for icing on the dramatic cake, the dancing was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers quality, and the vocal performances were the best, in aggregate, I've ever even heard ABOUT. The character of Jud Fry worked in ways I never new it could, due to inspired direction and a tour de force performance. Laurie and Curly actually dancing the dream ballet themselves removed a perenial speed bump in the show. Everything--just EVERYTHING works in this production. For me this is the definitive Oklahoma, and therefore the definitive musical theatre piece. If this wasn't what R and H intended, it should have been. It is a different show than the one I thought I knew. What a production! I can't wait for the DVD to get here so I can watch it again. Wow!
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 11, 2004
Format: DVD
Every time I watch a version of "Oklahoma!" there are two conclusions that I always reach. The first is that there is no greater chorus in the American musical than the title song from this show. No wonder as soon as it is finished the cast does it again and then for good measure does it at the end of the curtain calls. It always gives me chills when they do the big finish and it occurs to me that the song "Oklahoma" is our secular equivalent of "The Hallelujah Chorus." The second inevitable thought is that Shirley Jones had a truly great singing voice, perfect for musical theater. Any one who plays Laurey Williams is going to suffer in comparison when it comes to the singing (the test case remains the same: the end of the reprise of "People Will Say We're in Love."
That is not to say that this 1999 London Stage Revival of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is not impressive. Director Trevor Nunn restores the full text and you can see why Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were both interested in turning Lynn Riggs' play "Green Grow the Lilacs" into a musical. It might seem strange to say so, but one of the strengths of this production is that the acting is so solid. The comic relief characters like Will Parker (Jimmy Johnston), Ado Annie (Vicki Simon), and Ali Hakim (Peter Polycarpou), are given more gravity without sacrificing the humor. Of course, part of this is because the show was not really filmed before a live audience, even though there are applause and shots of the audience from the stage at the end of most of the musical numbers. So never is heard a laugh from the audience during the proceedings, which necessarily gives more weight to the characters and the action.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Josephine M. Taravella on March 26, 2007
Format: DVD
I've been a fan of Rodgers and Hammerstein for years, but Oklahoma was far from my favorite R&H show. The fifties Hollywood version always dissapointed me, I always thought the characters were so cardboard and one dimensional and the story so trite. Then one night I caught the second act of the London Stage Revival during a PBS pledge drive and had to get this. This is the reason I love musicals. This version enchanted me. The story was ACTED and acted so well. The dancing was rousing, robust and masculine. I haven't seen anything to top Seven Brides for Seven Brothers until now. I defy anyone to declare that the dancing in The Farmer and the Cowhand is sissified or to be able to sit still watching it. All the performers are wonderful, but Skyler Hensly is the quintesential Jud and Hugh Jackman is the essential Curly. He may not sing as well as Gordon McCrae but he makes up for it in making Curly a real character. Run and get this version!!!
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