Pictured: Purev Arslanbaatar (Curley), Maureen Iredell (Aunt Eller) (Bruce Wentzel)

All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.

Alexis Lahr, a student at Thomas Wootton High School reviews “Oklahoma!”performed by Thomas Edison High School , as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program .

Oklahoma! is the original romantic comedy. The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Oklahoma!, opened on Broadway on March 31, 1943 and enjoyed an Academy Award winning film adaptation in 1955.  Much more than just a romantic comedy, it is credited with being the first musical in which dance numbers are integrated into the storyline.


Oklahoma! takes place in the namesake location during the early 1900s. A love story at its finest, it tells the tale of Curly and Laurey, who love each other but are too stubborn to admit it, and Jud, who feels affection for Laurey and tries to come between them.

Supporting character, Ado Annie, is torn between sweet cowboy Will and ladies’ man Ali Hakim. Oklahoma! may be set in a time long ago, but people everywhere can still connect with the frustration and excitement of the classic love triangle.


Thomas Edison High Schools’ production of Oklahoma! was a rousing good time full of excitement and humor. The two leads, Curly and Laurey (Purev Aslanbaatar and Isabella Ness), showcased strong chemistry, as well as a Wild West sized dose of vocal talent. Aslanbaatar’s cool charisma was evident as he swaggered across the stage, and Ness’ graceful aura was outstanding.

The supporting characters held their own on the stage as well. Ado Annie Carnes (Juliette Cross) was perfectly perky and innocent, and her expert comedic timing enhanced the show. In addition, she put every ounce of her character into the musical numbers, an amazing feat. Ali Hakim’s (Nathan Vasquez) repetitive joke about almost being shot by a girl’s father was hilarious and relatable. Jud (Brad Cooley) kept the show from becoming too light with his brooding, dark voice, yet was still funny during the comic song  "Pore Jud is Daid" with Curly. Will’s (Harrison Riehle) innocent humor had the whole audience laughing and aww-ing. Aunt Eller (Maureen Iredell) kept the show moving along with her quick wit and line delivery.  The ensemble itself only enhanced the show, as  each member created individual standout characters and expressed strong energy.  Slim’s (J.T. Eure) body movements and acting were entrancing as he sneaked up onto Auntie’s house to surprise the newlyweds.

The set of Oklahoma! was simple, yet a perfect backdrop for a show set in such a quaint surrounding. The peddlers cart was an especially well done prop, with different compartments filled with jewelry and other goodies. The swift and quiet set changes and the lack of microphone issues took the show to the next level.  The costumes, as well as the hairstyles, were all appropriate to the period. Curly’s authentic chaps were a definite interest point, and the smeared dirt across Jud’s costume enhanced his creepy character.

Overall Thomas Edison High School’s production of Oklahoma! pulled everyone into the intoxicating love story and kept them there with the hilarious comic talent of all actors involved. “People Will Say We’re in Love” with Oklahoma!