‘Oklahoma!’ Where to find Ado Annie

Dave Tinney’s creative mind has done it again. Oklahoma!, which played in the Ragan Theatre from Jan. 20-29, definitely was not what those familiar with the show had expected. Tinney, the director of the show, took several creative liberties with the script and made Jud a Native American, Aunt Eller an African American and he turned the typical ballet sequence into a saloon-style nightmare. The most interesting and impactful change Tinney made, with the help of Jud’s portrayer Jacob Squire, was that instead of hating Jud at the end, I pitied him. The way he was played, Jud wasn’t the horribly sinister guy he is usually portrayed as, just terribly misunderstood and misjudged. Hats off to Tinney for turning the villain archetype into a victim of ignorance. As great as Squire’s performance was – there is no question about it – the scene stealer of the show was Kelly Coombs, who portrayed the fantastically girly, dim-witted but boy lovin’ Ado Annie. I found myself waiting for her to return to the stage, wondering what new quirks she would be bringing next. Her skirt-twirling antics were beyond endearing. It was impossible to scorn her for her wandering ways as far as the peddling Ali Hakim and her beau from home Will Parker were concerned. She was too innocent and too down-right hilarious. Her song “I Cain’t Say No” was genius...

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