‘Oklahoma’ musical sees final ‘morning’

The audience stood to their feet to applaud as the cast of Oklahoma! took a bow after the final performance of the musical on Sunday afternoon.

Since August 13, the Stones Throw Dinner Theater in Carthage has been presenting Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The cast, consisting of college and high school students, as well as community thespians, was directed by Gary Roney.

“I’m part of a team who put this thing together,” Roney said. “I have to make sure Gerrie-Ellen Johnston, our choreographer, and Julia Stone, the music director, get their credit. We always work as a team whenever we put on something like this.”

Teamwork was also essential to the theatre staff of volunteers who made sure the evening flowed smoothly. A delicious home-cooked meal consisting of a fresh garden salad, roasted pork loin topped with an apple rosemary glaze, cheesy scalloped potatoes, seasoned green beans and fluffy rolls, was served to the packed crowd on Sunday afternoon.

“We sold out today,” Honorary Lifetime Member and Seating Manager, Betty Bell said. Altogether, we’ve had about 860 people show up for the show in the three weeks we’ve been running. It’s been very good and very busy.”

The musical began with the main character, Curly, played by Richard Wostal, walking through the audience singing the classic “Oh! What a Beautiful Morning!”

The cast convincingly portrayed cattle ranchers, farmers and settlers of the 1906 territory of Oklahoma. The dialogue was filled with a southern/mid-western dialect, complete with words and phrases such as; “Fer Cain’t,” “All er nuttin”, and “Feebble minded site pole.”

The story followed two different couples tale of falling in love. Curly and Laurey, played by Betsy Berueda, fought their hidden feelings for each other while other characters tried to steal their affections. The other couple, Will Parker and Ado Annie Carnes, played by Max Mammele and Kendra Goepfert, had enough problems keeping their affections from the other characters.

The intermission was accompanied by a generous and delicious serving of strawberry shortcake and coffee. This treat inspired the crowd to join the cast in singing the title song Oklahoma!

The musical and dinner were both much more than “OK!” The Stones Throw Dinner Theatre provided an enjoyable place to spend an afternoon. The staff and audience were very welcoming and the cast was very talented and entertaining.

The Stones Throw Dinner Theatre will be presenting Same Time, Next Year, directed by Bill Welsh, beginning Oct. 8 and playing every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Oct. 24. The theatre is also working on a presentation of Miracle on 34th Street directed by Betty Bell for Christmas.