Arizona Broadway Theatre presents popular musical ‘Oklahoma!’

by Jim Grimes

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s American classic was more than a hit. According to the Arizona Broadway brochure “Oklahoma” was the first real phenomenon in the modern Broadway era. “Oklahoma” is the story of Laurey and the two rivals for her affections: Curly, a cowboy; and Jud, the hired farmhand. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, “Oklahoma” also tackles class issues between the farmers and the cattleman in the rugged landscape of a state in its infancy. This brilliant first collaboration of Rodgers and Hammerstein set box office records as it ushered in the Golden Age of American Musical Theatre. “Oklahoma” runs through Nov. 18.

Arizona Broadway Theatre
Jennifer Molly Bell as Laurey Williams, Bobby Underwood as Ali Hakim and Sarah Ledka as Ado Annie star in Arizona Broadway Theatre’s recent production of “Oklahoma!” Photo by Jim Grimes

The atmosphere is upscale and the ticket prices start at $49 for dinner and show. Tickets are also available for the show only starting at $29. The dinner menu includes beef tenderloin, vegetable ravioli, barbecue chicken, fried pork chops, and pan-seared salmon. The food is above average but the service is top notch.

The play was good and the talent was adequate but one actor seemed to steal the show. Bobby Underwood played the part of Ali Hakim the peddler. Underwood gave a stellar performance and kept the audience laughing throughout the entire play. The singing and dancing were also very entertaining but the production definitely fell short of an actual New York Broadway play.

The male members of the cast of “Oklahoma!” visit with audience members after the show. Photo by Jim Grimes

Arizona Broadway Theatre is located at 7701 West Paradise Lane, Peoria, Arizona. You may contact them for ticket information by calling 623-776-8400, or online at azbroadway.org. The lineup for this season includes “Oklahoma,” “Annie,” “Hello Dolly,” “The Buddy Holly Story,” “9 to 5,” “Into the Woods,” “Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat,” and “Trailer Park.”

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