Smooth 'Oklahoma' Has Only A Few Wrinkles

March 11, 1992|By Tim Weinfeld | Tim Weinfeld,Contributing theater critic

WESTMINSTER — Carroll County's newest theatrical venture, Stage Door Dinner Theatre, opened its first production, Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma,"at Friendly Farm restaurant last weekend.

It is a welcome addition to the area's artistic and cultural life.

Audiences will be pleased with the self-described "direct and simple" approach taken by director Mike Pressimone.

Because this is the first production of a new company, success of this production willdepend on the few wrinkles yet to be ironed out by the capable staffof Stone Road Productions. There are, happily, many smooth spots, and audiences will be charmed by them.

First and foremost is the exciting Carroll debut of Dierdre Derbis in the lead role of Laurie. Derbis acts and sings beautifully and looks lovely.

Next is the fine performance of Roger Buchanan as the disturbed and violent Jud. Though his character could appear terribly out of place without a sensitive approach, Buchanan handles gracefully the naturalistic interpolation of Jud into a Romantic world.

The male chorus, usually less well-populated and less proficient than the female in local productions, does well vocally.

Although too young for the part, Kathleen Sullivan is a charming Aunt Eller. She captures the spirit of the character and her times and leaves the audience wanting more of her singing.

There is an interesting and innovative, if not totally successful,interpretation of the beautiful dream sequence. Having this performed by children is fascinating and valid.

"Oklahoma" continues at 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 12:30 p.m. Sundays, March 13-15, 20-22 and 27-29, at Friendly Farm restaurant in Westminster. Tickets are $26 for dinner and show.

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