Best Musical - 2008
Did anyone really want to see yet another Oklahoma! The answer was a decided yes — after we saw it. From the mooing of its offstage cows to the onstage windmill (that invited climbing), this Webster Conservatory mounting of the 65-year-old Rodgers & Hammerstein classic about farmers and cowmen was so infused with zest and vigor (all channeled through Ali Hakim's drug-soaked smelling salts) that the show veritably wafted from melody to melody. It didn't hurt that the spunky young cast was directed and choreographed by Lara Teeter, the new head of the conservatory's musical theater program, a native Oklahoman who has played Will Parker across the country, including at the Muny. He made his young actors — and us — believe that an overly familiar story was being told here for the first time. Oh, what a beautiful evenin'.