Broadway's Edgy Oklahoma Revival

"Who’d have thought the most controversial show this spring would be . . . Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”?

A revival of the 1943 musical opening Sunday is dividing audiences and Tony voters. Partisans think it’s a brilliant updating of a chestnut. Detractors say it’s an abomination against a beloved classic.

Directed by Daniel Fish, this “Oklahoma!” is tuneful and funny, brutal and dark, but still bright: The house lights stay on throughout most of the show. Curly is no longer a sunny hero, but an arrogant force for all that the white man will do to Native Americans while settling the West. Jud Fry is no longer an ugly weirdo, but a sensitive, sexy and troubled farm hand, evoking at turns sympathy and terror."

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