Monday, September 12, 2011

New Mexico State And "Oklahoma"

On Saturday, my father and my brothers attended the Minnesota/New Mexico State game.

Minnesota was expected to win—New Mexico State has one of the very worst Division I football programs—but the Golden Gophers suffered another loss, 28-21.

After almost defeating powerhouse U.S.C. in Los Angeles the previous Saturday, Minnesota laid an egg at home against New Mexico State. It will be another long season for Golden Gopher fans.

At least the game had a reasonable start time. With kickoff scheduled for 2:30 p.m., my father and my brothers were able to spend the morning playing with the kids—and they were able to eat lunch with the kids, too.

They left for the game at 12:00 Noon, and they returned at 7:30 p.m., a significant investment of time for a very dismal athletic contest. Their only reward: my mother had a good dinner waiting for them upon their return.

Yesterday afternoon, the tables were turned: my father and my brothers stayed home with the kids while my mother, my sister-in-law and Josh and I went to Bloomington to attend the matinee performance of Rodgers’s and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma” at Bloomington Civic Theatre.

We enjoyed the performance. The stage design and costume design were of a high standard, and the orchestra was very good (Bloomington Civic Theatre always uses a full orchestra for its musical productions).

The cast members were lively and enthusiastic, although mostly too young for their roles. Even the actress portraying Aunt Eller looked as if she should be playing Laurey.

Despite several dead spots, “Oklahoma” remains a great musical. The score is radiantly buoyant; it is perhaps the most buoyant score from the American musical theater. It retains its freshness after a hundred exposures.

That the show was written and first produced in early 1943, barely one year into America’s involvement in World War II and long before the outcome of the war was certain, has always fascinated me.

Nothing should be read into such circumstances, however, as both Rodgers and Hammerstein had contemplated—independently—writing a musical based upon the source material as early as 1940.

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