If you’re expecting the 2022 Oklahoma musical tour to be a colorful and cheerful night out, think again. This may be the most honest Oklahoma revival review you’ll find…
Honest Oklahoma Revival Review 2022
If you want the bullet-point version of my honest Oklahoma revival review, here you go:
- The revival takes a dark turn from the original
- The score stayed the same, though with a more melancholy tone throughout
- The sound/microphone choices made it hard to hear
- Some of the scenes were done completely in the dark
- The one-room set never changed (tables just moved from Act 1 to Act 2)
- The ending was thought-provoking but heavy
Essentially, I do not think this revival is worth your time or money.
Watch my video review from the night I saw the revival:
The Oklahoma Revival Keeps Original Music & Lyrics
One of the most interesting facts about the Oklahoma revival is that although it seems to be completely reimagined, the original music and lyrics did not change. I found this synopsis from Broadway World said it well:
…dark and haunting, serious and disturbing, funny and moving, but surprisingly, not a single lyric or word of dialogue has been changed.– BroadwayWorld.com
While you may recognize the songs, it’s the stylistic choices that will surprise you. Just about everything else seemed to be turned on its head.
Is the Oklahoma Revival Family Friendly?
We had two tween girls sitting next to us during the night we saw the Oklahoma revival and it took everything within me not to ask their parents if they would bring them again.
The show was not raunchy, but there were a LOT of sexual innuendos and jokes throughout. Not to mention the main storyline basically centered around a “will they or won’t they” get together question for two different couples.
There was kissing, but no swearing.
My biggest advice for parents that choose to bring kids would be to prepare them in advance. There will be questions. And because the ending is dramatic and disturbing (and shows typically end late), be prepared to help your kids process some dark themes before they go to bed.
Dark Themes in Oklahoma Broadway Tour
Some of those dark themes in the Oklahoma Broadway tour include class privilege, stalking, and mental illness.
The irony of this is that when we first entered the theater, I commented that it felt lighter and brighter than any production I’ve ever seen.
The set essentially stayed the same throughout the show. The fringe on the top (see what I did there?) came down a little lower in the second act, along with tables and chairs getting moved around a bit.
But don’t let the open airy set fool you. Twice during the musical the set went completely black. Two other times, while the set was dark, a camera projected much-too-close-ups of the actors in night vision on the back wall. Both moments felt awkward, but I imagine that as the intent.
Ironically, at intermission I commented that it felt like a modern, contemporary dance that I didn’t quite understand. Then, guess how the second act started…you guessed it: with a modern, contemporary solo dancer I didn’t quite understand. She was incredibly talented, but it added to the production feeling dark and twisted.
Spoiler Alert: In the end, one of the characters basically offered up a gun for someone to shoot him. The main couple ended up with blood splattered all over their wedding whites, which remained on them through the curtain call.
On a positive note, the cast was multi-racial and inclusive, which was definitely not the case in the original.
Let me pause here to make something clear: just because I don’t enjoy something doesn’t invalidate the art. My only purpose in this is to educate and inform. I wish I knew what I was walking into before I went. For others who are considering going to the show, it’s important to know how you’re choosing to invest your time and resources.
Oklahoma Tour in Nashville
You can see the touring revival of Oklahoma at TPAC in Nashville from May 2-8. I was provided with free tickets to see Oklahoma in exchange for my honest review.