Well, that production of Oklahoma has returned to Arena Stage. I still admit that it’s charms were lost on me, but whenever I’m in the Waterfront metro station and see people leaving the theater, someone’s turning cartwheels over it, so what do I know?
Arena has announced The Music Man for next season. And in the totally unfounded rumor department*, reports are that the production will be recycling more than the prairie dresses and barn (to be painted white) from Oklahoma. Having had such success displaying the diversity of settlers in the Oklahoma territories, Molly Smith is said to be thinking about making The Music Man about the Asian immigrant experience. Reportedly Marion, Winthrop and Mrs. Paroo will be portrayed as Asian — which given the piano lessons and librarianship seems somewhat appropriate. Reportedly, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother author Amy Chua will be coming in to script a scene where Marion rehearses the children’s band and berates them for not practicing and living up to their potential, causing them to play flawlessly in the final scene. And Shipoopi will be re-orchestrated from a polka to a dragon dance. The seriousness will be leavened with Mrs. Paroo’s constant exasperation with Winthrop’s speech defect, making her constantly chide, “Winsrop, stop risping!” And of course we discover that the town’s male foursome are actually on the downlow.
*Needless to say, I’ve made this all up. But when I floated this notion to two people involved with the production of Oklahoma, they didn’t know whether to believe me or not.