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.
Now it's time to surrender to the most thrilling Broadway show ever imagined... the longest-running musical phenomenon in Broadway history. Unmask your savings today, because tonight belongs to Phantom. Tickets as low as $27!