Onstage: Oklahoma!

'Oklahoma!' was the first collaboration of the legendary composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, and it was an immense hit, running from more than five years. It was then turned into a hit film in 1955. The love story between handsome

Oklahoma! can feel corny and nostalgic. Jersey Productions’ 2009 summer season has kicked off with a production that avoids clichés and plays to the strengths of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show that actually established a new way to tell stories, using songs and dancing to advance the plot.

Director Jason Bruffy has given this spirited Oklahoma! a straightforward momentum, and Liz Vosmeier has reproduced Agnes de Mille’s iconic choreography that was an essential attraction of the original hit.

Oklahoma! can become unwieldy with overdone sets, but not here. Using a few pieces of split-rail fence and a roll-around porch unit, plus a backdrop washed with color to reflect the Oklahoma sky and the emotions that change from scene to scene, is all that’s needed to tell the love story between handsome Curly and straightforward Laurey.

Through July 25 at the Aronoff Center's Jarson-Kaplan Theatre. $20-$25. 

Get showtimes, tickets and find nearby bars and restaurants here and read Rick Pender's review here.

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