THE DVD SHELF: Hugh Jackman in Oklahoma!, Season One of "Smash," Mel Brooks, Hitchcock

By Steven Suskin
13 Jan 2013

Josefina Gabrielle and Hugh Jackman
Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench
Which brings us to the rest of the cast. It seems odd to start with Jud, but he was perhaps the most successful element of the production. (Jackman made it a hit, and makes a wonderful Curly, but it's Hensley's Jud that makes it work.) Hensley was a little-known American actor when he took the stage at the National; he didn't make his Broadway debut until 2000, when he stepped into Nunn's Les Miserables as a replacement Javert. He is rivetingly good in Oklahoma! He won an Olivier for the role, and a matching Tony for his Jud at the Gershwin in 2002. (For what it's worth, Hensley — who just gave us a mesmerizing performance in The Whale at Playwrights Horizons — will next appear in another role created by Da Silva, as political ward heeler Ben Marino in Bock & Harnick's Fiorello! for the City Center Encores! series.)

Josefina Gabrielle completes the triangle as Laurey, and she is darling. Oddly so; she didn't come off nearly so well at the Gershwin, so I was somewhat surprised by her performance on the Blu-ray. Maureen Lipman, too, makes a large contribution as Aunt Eller. In the right hands, it seems, Eller is the glue that holds Oklahoma! together.

Image gives us a bonus feature, "The Making of Oklahoma!" The making of the filmed version of the Olivier production, that is. (The film starts and ends with a live audience, yet there is no applause throughout. The bonus explains that after the show closed, they moved the set into a studio so they could more properly film it.) Nunn and Stroman guide us through, with Ted Chapin and Mary Rodgers representing R&H along with comments from Jackman, Gabrielle and Hensley.

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