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Midwestern love traingles with MTG's Oklahoma


MIT Musical Theatre Guild.

Directed by Stephen L. Peters '91.

Starring Jon Klaren '93, Keri Hains W '94, Daniel Henderson '91 and Emily Rachel Prenner '93.

Kresge Auditorium, Nov. 9-11 and 15-17.



THE VOICE OF THE Musical Theatre Guild rings loud and clear in this fall's production of Oklahoma! A few new voices have joined the regular MTG performers to tell this comedy/love story of the Midwest, and the musical result is rich and spirited.

The story of two romances in the days before Oklahoma became a state is one that rivals modern day soap operas for its bits of intrigue, triangular love interests, and obsessive and indecisive lovers. However, the story is told with songs and dances, energetic performers and knee-slapping lines, so the otherwise painful aspects of love are practically hidden in all the fun.

The story revolves around what it takes for the leading couple, Curly (Jon Klaren '93) and Laurey (Keri Hains W '94), to openly proclaim their love for each other and eventually marry. At first, what prevents their love from flowering is Laurey's tendency to keep the man she loves at arm's length, which she does by inviting the hired hand, Jud Fry (Richard Buellesbach '90) to the box social. Soon their love is shadowed by the presence of Fry, who becomes utterly obsessed with Laurey.

Klaren, who hasn't played a lead role before in an MTG production, is suited to the part of Curly. His voice projects, and his swaggering presence seems right when paired with Hains. Hains sings well, but her voice did not carry as strongly. She is very believable as the perplexed Laurey. And Buellesbach, a longtime member of MTG, acts well as the brooding Fry.

The love interests of Ado Annie (Emily Rachel Prenner '93) provide comic contrast to Curly and Laurey's relationship. Ado Annie cannot decide between the two men in her life, the peddler Ali Hakim (Michael C. Pieck '92) and Will Parker (Daniel Henderson '91), because the one she is with is the one she likes best.

Prenner portrays the flighty Ado Annie with energy and a strong voice. Henderson, another established MTG member, performs with equal vitality, and together they practically steal the show. Pieck is very entertaining as the Turkish peddler who, under the influence of the moon, "talks purty" to Ado Annie in order to kiss her.

These six people provide a strong corps of performers that carry the show. The chorus seems to have a good time, and sings well. Prenner and Henderson are the only two whose voices consistently project into the auditorium.

The stage set, however, does not match the performers in quality. The homestead fa,cade and the budding tree do evoke a spare, Midwestern landscape, but the rest of the set is too sparse. Six cornstalks lined up against the wall do not a cornfield make.

But despite the set, and perhaps too many dances, everyone in Oklahoma! performs intensely, which makes for a rollicking show.