Matt Gibson and Chasten Harmon in Berkshire Theatre Group's Oklahoma! Photo by Abby LePage.

A Singer’s Notes 77: Music Theater Everywhere

I stand in awe of the combination of skills needed to perform the American musical well. While a voice which is less than perfect may be usable, even good, the acting must be convincing, and the dancing cannot in any way seem labored or “almost there.” In the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Oklahoma there was a textbook example of how to do this in the person of Chasten Harmon who played Ado Annie. This young woman convinced me that she sang because she had to sing, and she danced because she had to dance, and all of this flowed along as a single narrative, without bumping. It justified the form and showed that the modes work together to make a kind of super language which can go off in any direction at any time.

Oklahoma, Cast. Photo Abby LePage.

Oklahoma! At the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Colonial Theatre through July 20, 2013

For lovers of the American musical theatre there is no better reason for goose bumps than a large cast of energetic performers strutting toward the footlights singing the title song of Oklahoma!. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein set up this moment perfectly with a short, vocal solo followed by the full orchestra playing an eight note scale. Finally we hear the one-note crescendo and the familiar melody.

The Barangaroo Review: Your concerns are important to us but we do not share them

The results of the “short, sharp” review into Sydney’s Barangaroo development project have been released in the form of an 87 page report in which the word “outcome” appears 88 times. Though all sides have declared some version of victory in its wake, it is hard to see the report as anything other than a final rubber stamp for the developer Lend Lease. Whatever its misgivings, the report requires no modifications to the current plans. Any critique is blunted by a salad of weasel words and praise for the “world class people working on Barangaroo.” Whether or not anyone has the power to undo this mess, it’s clear no one has the guts.

Maximum Stupid: Sydney’s Big Barangaroo Blowup

“The Master Plan suggests an architecture that, despite its scale, will not overshadow any of the spaces that are, in and of themselves, naturally beautiful. The exception to this is the library and hotel pier. A reference to tall ships that once docked at the harbour’s edge and the hotel and library are expressions of the magnificent ability for a building to almost walk on water. This architecture will provide necessary markers in their own right.” -from the Barangaroo Public Display, March 2010

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