Words by Richard Rodgers and Music by Oscar Hammerstein II
Nuffield Theatre,
January 2008
Cast List
Aunt Eller
Curly McClain
Laurey Williams
Jud Fry (Performances)
Ike Skidmore
Will Parker
Ado Annie Carnes
Ali Hakim
Andrew Carnes
Gertie Cummings
Cord Elam
Jud Fry (Rehearsals)

Notes on this performance

108. Oklahoma!                                   

Break a leg…

After losing a small fortune on Die Fledermaus and Sweeney Todd, the Committee was keen to stage some money-making shows to redress the balance, so plans were made to produce The Mikado, Anything Goes and Fiddler on the Roof. Unfortunately, Fareham Musical Society already had the licence for the latter and was reluctant to let SOS perform it before them, so the Committee decided that Oklahoma! should make a good replacement and sought a director - Marina Voak (ironically from FMS) was keen to experience working with another group and, with Rachael Hackett borrowed from DYT, a lively directing team was in place.

Although the show seemed to appeal to the ladies more than the men, a strong cast was assembled. The seemingly endless auditions for the parts of Laurey and Ado Annie were eventually resolved in favour of Vicky Wilson and Nicky McKinley respectively, whilst Joseph Wright was chosen to play Curly (he previously had that part for DYT in 2005). Rob Kirtley, a recent recruit from LOpSoc, was selected as Will Parker and Nick Hollands as Ali Hakim. The villain of the piece, Jud Fry, went to Mike Pavitt, who portrayed him as a commanding, bitter and very angry man.

Rehearsals went well until just before Christmas when Colin Sly (Andrew Carnes) had an endoscopy at the hospital; unfortunately this damaged his throat and threatened his participation in the show. The ever-resourceful Marina recruited Adam Backhouse from FMS as a substitute for rehearsals and, even though Colin did recover in time, Adam was prepared to step in if needed. 

Worse was to come though! At the very end of the final rehearsal Mike caught his foot on the non-slip floor, during Jud’s fight with Curly and broke his leg in several places – making him unavailable for months! However, with four days before going into the theatre, David Tatnall came to the rescue. He was performing in a pantomime but still managed to learn the part and then spent the weekend with Marina going over the stage directions. David’s Jud was very different to the one the company was used to - the over-bearing brute had suddenly become quiet, lonely and very troubled. 

The Echo reported: ‘Southampton Operatic Society’s Oklahoma! was a bright and breezy production briskly paced and scored. The production was strongly acted and the ensemble pieces were well choreographed and sung. Joseph Wright (Curly) and Vicky Wilson (Laurey) made an attractive couple, with Curly a commanding lead figure who drew the eye whenever he was on stage. A great deal of colour came from some excellent support performances. David Tatnall, who took over the role at the 11th hour, impressed as a shambling and sinister Jud. Sarah Fulcher and Nick Hollands displayed great comic timing as Aunt Eller and Ali Hakim respectively.’ 

Although Oklahoma! attracted reasonable sized audiences (1727), it still made a loss of £400, due mainly to ordering a set from 212 miles away – the extra 12 miles meant that the driver had to be put up in a hotel overnight both ways.

Terry O'Farrell


Photo of Opening

Vicky Wilson (Laurey), Sarah Fulcher (Aunt Eller), Joseph Wright (Curly)

Photo of Ado and Followers

Nichola McKinley (Ado Annie) with Rob Kirtley (Will Parker) and Nick Hollands (Ali Hakim)

Photo of Jud

Poor Jud is Dead : David Tatnall (Jud Fry) and Joseph Wright (Curly McClain)

Photo of Dream Sequence

The Dream Sequence: Joseph Wright (Curly McClain) and Vicky Wilson (Laurey Williams)

Photo of Dream Sequence 2

Dream Sequence 2: David Tatnall (Jud Fry) watched by Tony Lehrle-Fry (Cord Elam) with the Dancers (Gill Parry, Eleanor Moreton, Anne Waggott, Jo Short)

Photo of Wedding Scene

Front Row: Mark Allen, Colin Sly (Andrew Carnes), Jo Wright (Curly), Vicky Wilson (Laurey), Sarah Fulcher (Aunt Eller), Rob Kirtley (Will Parker), Nichola McKinley (Ado Annie)