Watkins Mill High School's O'Shea Players recently performed a magnificent "Oklahoma!," a show about a small town in the western Indian Territory at the turn of the last century. From the first note sung by Dennis Moura, in the role of Curly, to the curtain call, the audience was beaming in appreciation.

The chemistry between the actors was excellent, and the singing was dazzling. The lovely voice of Rachel Mack as Laurey brought smiles to every face. And Jessica Yirka pulled off the trademark laugh of the character Gertie Cummings beautifully. The ensemble performances were well choreographed, and the dream sequence was almost surreal.

The set was simple but elegant, a farmhouse revolving into a smokehouse with a large backdrop of rolling hills. Although they were worth the wait, some of the scene changes seemed to take a bit long.

The costumes were a great example of the fashion at the turn of the century. All in all this was a wonderful experience and a clearly superior high school production of a classic Broadway play.

Shelly Rencher

John F. Kennedy

High School

The O'Shea Players left for the territories singing as they presented "Oklahoma!" The bright, humorous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical worked well for the Watkins Mill stage. The realistic sets and familiar tunes evoked simple country life, where a picnic social is a big event and emotions are as pure as the air of the fields.

Two young people, cowboy Curly and farmer's orphan Laurey, find new love in the newly opened lands. Played by sophomore Dennis Moura and senior Rachel Mack, the couple have great chemistry and energetic interactions. Their innocent and sweet romance is offset by Ado Annie's (Peggy Tondo) hilarious affairs with Will (the cheerful Tim Ossi) and Ali Hakim, the peddler (young talent Kyle Torrence).

But not all is well in the soon-to-be Sooner State, and trouble is brewing in the territory. Sean Manson plays Laurey's brooding farm hand, Jud Fry, who is in love with Laurey and determined to have her -- by any means. Will the young lovers, guided by the wise and merry Aunt Eller (an excellent Tricia Smith), escape his ruthless pursuit?

Anything is possible on the endless plains of Oklahoma.

The cast, despite being almost too small for some of the chorus scenes, put in a great effort. Individual energies sparkled, and lightning flashed between the characters under the masterfully handled spotlight. Some of the choreography in the mass scenes did, however, fall a bit flat because of simple, repetitive dancing. That was not the case with the surreal dream sequence, which was quite effective, its ominous mood created almost purely by the actors. The orchestra as well as the backstage support did a good job, although the sound crew seemed to have trouble with the timing on several occasions.

In general, "Oklahoma!" was a fairly easy show to produce and was well suited to the restructuring and growth period under new drama director Havilah Meinel. All in all, it was an enjoyable experience and can be summed up in just two words: "Oklahoma! OK!"

Xenia Kramida

Quince Orchard High School