Oklahoma! 1998 London Cast
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Following up their landmark 1993 revival of Carousel, London's Royal National Theatre delivers another pillar of the Rodgers and Hammerstein canon with their 1998 production of Oklahoma! As on the earlier CD, Oklahoma! provides a generous amount of music (74 minutes) by including integral dance music (including Laurey's dream ballet and passages of "Kansas City") and connecting dialogue, resulting in a more complete theatrical experience than most recordings provide. It also includes two songs that were cut from the film, the grammatically incorrect but vigorous chorus number "It's a Scandal, It's a Outrage" and Jud's powerful lament, "Lonely Room." Hugh Jackman excels as Curly, while Josefina Gabrielle is an effective Laurey. Filling out the strong cast are Maureen Lipman as Aunt Eller, Jimmy Johnston as Will, Vicki Simon as Ado Annie, and Shuler Hensley as Jud; and thankfully, British accents are not prevalent on this plain. The booklet includes production notes and a synopsis with photos, but no lyrics. Of course, the question in most minds might be whether you need to make room on your shelf for another recording of Oklahoma! When it's this well done, the answer is yes. --David Horiuchi