Theater Info for Maryland

Glyndon Area Players Oklahoma!

By • Aug 16th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Sacred Heart’s Glyndon Area Players
Sacred Heart School, Glyndon, MD
Through August 21st
3:10 with intermission
$12/$7 Seniors and Children
Reviewed August 13th, 2011

Walking in to this theatre, it was instantly awe-inspiring. The set was gorgeous and intricate with a real life-sized windmill. The windmill even actually turned. You really felt like you were in Oklahoma at that time. Real branches and rocks formed the set. The cyc was beautifully designed with hills and a sky that was lit in beautiful different colors. The expectations were high; unfortunately, this production fell a little short. While the cast had a lot of heart, the performances and staging lacked a lot of polish.

There were a few bright spot in the cast. Molly Janiga (Ado Annie) is a true triple threat. She sang beautifully, danced, and was perfectly comedic. Even with one tiny misstep, her recovery was seamless. You were watching a professional on the stage. Kevin D’Alesandro (Curly) was another strong actor with a good voice. The only weak spot was that he breathed very noticeably. His comedic work on “Poor Jud” was also quite enjoyable. The ensemble was also very good and full of energy, although they occasionally pulled focus. One real standout in the ensemble was Donald Ertel (Ike).

Some of the other leads were hit or miss. Kathy Blake (Aunt Eller) was inconsistent. Sometimes, she had good moments when showing her emotional connection to Laurie, but a lot of the time she played the role way too over-the-top as it was Mammy Yokum. Quentin Patrick (Will) played the role very unconventionally, very comic and goofy. It was a very consistent choice but maybe not the best choice. However, he was likeable and had a lot of energy.

A few of the leads really struggled. Eric Besbris (Jud) had a great look for the part and a very good baritone, but the acting fell very short. He did not really develop an appropriate character and was not appropriately menacing and distasteful. He did, however, do well when working with Curly on “Poor Jud.” Hugh Carson (Ali Hakim) was lucky to have a good role that was very well written for, so he was still able to get laughs despite a mediocre performance. His accent was inconsistent and the Indian accent was an odd choice. He also didn’t have the charm and power that would have really made the role shine. Ali Borkowicz (Laurey) was an odd choice for the role. She might have a nice instrument in her voice, but she has obviously not been trained and was all over the place. She seemed to try really hard to make a character, but she struggled in showing real emotion and heart.

The complete lack of choreography was another real downfall. Some songs like “Oklahoma!” were just spent standing on the stage. In general, the show lacked any impressive, large dance numbers, something that should really be part of this particular musical. Even “Kansas City” lacked the “wow” factor that the number usually holds.

The technical pieces were excellent. The aforementioned set, beautiful lighting, and relatively well-balanced sound. Even when the sound had minor issues, the cast or crew adjusted quickly. The costumes were beautiful and high quality. They were appropriate to the time, although the character choice was sometimes questionable. Having Laurey in the shirt and overalls didn’t exactly work, and there was not enough of a distinction between the farmers and the cowmen. The makeup, however, was not as strong. Curly’s five-o’clock shadow looked awkward and drawn. The rest of the makeup didn’t really stand out as being good or bad. The orchestra was very good for the most part, only the trumpet was occasionally off.

This was a very typical, small community theater production. The performers, for the most part, were not and will never be professionals. However, they did bring a ton of heart and energy to the production. The major plus that set this production on a slightly higher plane was their high-quality technical elements and Molly Janiga.

Photo Gallery

claremore oklahoma
IBD_8751 IBD_8582
IBD_8596 IBD_8709

Photos by Glyndon Area Players


  • Aunt Eller: Kathy Blake
  • Curly: Kevin D’Alesandro
  • Laurey: Ali Borkowicz
  • Ike: Donald Ertel
  • Slim: Tommy Beam
  • Will: Quentin Patrick
  • Fred: Emilio Bayarena
  • Jud: Eric Besbris
  • Ado Annie: Molly Janiga
  • Ali Hakim: Hugh Carson
  • Gertie: Megan O’Donnell
  • Carnes: Stan Behnken
  • Vivian: Rose Hahn
  • Ellen: Elena Vassallo
  • Kate: Ann Devine
  • Virginia: Mae Alexander
  • Farmer: Luke Roeder
  • Mike: Paul Davis Griffin
  • Cord Elam: Jake Mathis
  • Tom: Casey Consuegra
  • Rebecca: Mary Morency
  • Dottie: Kristan Miller
  • Lizzie: Elizabeth Devine
  • Olivia: Ellie Hamilton
  • Petunia: Abby Wolff
  • Sarah: Lauren Fish
  • Sophia: Sydney Hunt
  • Violet: Morgan Caplan
  • Betty Lou: Corinne Ertel
  • Charlotte Sue: Ava Ertel
  • Clementine Rose: Sophia Rampolla
  • Cora Lee: Chloe Hunt
  • Georgia May: Cameron Consuegra
  • Maggie May: Emily Noel
  • Sadie Anne: Emma Roeder
  • Savannah Rose: Jenny Yarmis
  • Sue Ellen: Lily Ertel
  • Tara Leigh: Elena Rittie
  • Dream Sequence Dancers: Mae Alexander, Ann Devine, Lauren Fish, Rose Hahn, Ellie Hamilton, & Sydney Hunt

Production Team

  • Director: Homero Bayarena
  • Assistant Director: Teresa Ertel
  • Choreographer: Deb Carson
  • Music Director: Sally Tarr
  • Stage Manager: Karen Janiga
  • Business Manager: Jo-Anne Miller
  • Technical Director: Michael Parks
  • Assistant Technical Director: Ann Kenney-Clasing
  • Production Manager: Kari O’Donnell

Disclaimer: Glyndon Area Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

Tagged as: , ,

This article can be linked to as:

recently graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor's degree in mathematics, and began working with a marketing company out of Baltimore. During his time in school he would frequently perform his staple portrayal for the D.C. based Stroyka Theatre; all the while juggling his alternative position as filmographer.

5 Responses »

  1. I have to disagree with this review whole-heartedly. I saw this show twice over the weekend and found it to be wonderful! I saw it Friday night on the spur of the moment with co-workers and decided to bring my family on Saturday night because it was so well done. My family was also impressed with the show. I can only guess from your comments that you expected to see an old movie version of this show rather than the more recent play with Hugh Jackman as Curly. For example, Laurey is now frequently played wearing overalls.

    No good choreography? The dancing in the Kansas City scene, the Scandal scene (loved the pitchforks), the ballet scene, and the party scene were terrific – especially the party scene with the different groups dancing to different sections of the song with increasing difficulty. The kid’s square dancing was adorable, and the young adults doing the fan kicks and lifts were great! I think the choreographer did a great job of focusing on the actors of different ages in each part. And the ballet was just beautiful.

    I do agree with you about the girl playing Ado Annie. She was simply awesome – her voice, the expressions on her face and her comedic timing were perfect.

    I also thought Glyndon’s Laurey was sweet and charming and fit her role perfectly. And your comment about the young man playing Curly was that he “breathed noticeably”? That had to be a joke! Everyone I spoke to during intermission and after the show was simply amazed by his beautiful voice and his dead-on portrayal of Curly. And I loved his outfit and his strutting around in those chaps!

    I find your comments about Aunt Eller were also wrong – the woman playing her was incredible! I don’t think she was over the top at all, except in a way that seemed to be on purpose. She seemed to me to be just the feisty, outspoken, old woman that you would have expected to meet in the Oklahoma territory in the early 1900s, especially since she was running her farm alone.

    And the men’s roles – Hugh Carson as Ali Hakim was hysterical! I loved the accent. His scenes with Ado Annie were a riot! Jud came off exactly as I have pictured him – you state that he wasn’t menacing but he’d have scared me! The dark shadows of makeup alone were scary. In addition, his voice was beautiful. Will Parker was played differently than I’ve ever seen but was also very good.

    You also comment that the ensemble was very good. I would agree that Ertel as Ike was very good – he’s very funny. And Gertie was also quite funny – every time she laughed, the entire audience laughed (both nights)! I liked that the director let the focus be on some of the minor roles at times – I think it’s good to recognize, especially in community theater, that the minor roles are also important.

    I also agree about the set, the lighting, the costumes – they were just beautiful. The orchestra was very good. Your comments about the makeup seem odd – I don’t know that I even noticed makeup because I was more interested in the characterizations.

    All in all, I thought the show was beautiful and beautifully presented. Perhaps the reviewer should acquaint himself with the Hugh Jackman stage version of the show rather than comparing this production to a 60+ year old movie. Glyndon Area Players – great job!!! I’m looking forward to next year’s Hairspray!

    (Editor’s note: Ms. Carson is no relation to Hugh Carson, a performer in this production.)

  2. First of all, on behalf of the Glyndon Area Players, we appreciate you having taken the time out of your busy schedule to come and review our production of “Oklahoma”. With community theater, we understand that at all times you will be reviewed—by your friends, your family, your peers, and people that you do not even know. To that, we also have to ask, “so what are the reviewers or critics credentials?” Is a review based on years of experience or is it that one time event? Is it someone that has spent years in the theater world or someone that reviews things as a hobby? Either way, it is a review – one person’s opinion. As the founder of this group, I am fine with your review—I don’t agree with many of your comments but I am fine with it. Your viewpoint must have based on the movie version of the show, while our representation was based off of the London stage production. Two completely different takes to the same show. I do thank you for your time. Our community supports our production and everyone in it. We are the Glyndon Area Players, a family of people with a passion of delivering theatrical experiences with excellence —after all we are “the theater company built on a dream.”

  3. I saw the show last weekend and it STOOD OUT as the best community theater i have ever saw! I think we must of saw two different shows!

  4. Being the “resident photographer” this year for GAP has offered me the opportunity to see the show unfold during tech week and come to fruition this past weekend.

    Quite frankly, I would say this show is anything but a “typical, small community” theatre production. I agree whole-heartedly with Simmons comments about the set–it is quite stunning and colorful. The antique farm pieces incorporated into the backdrop not only enhance the overall feel of a small OK farm, but they are manuevered by the backstage hands effortlessly. The set buildings, created entirely from scrap at the onset of this season, are colorful and appear authentic. I could elaborate, but overall the stage is terific and believable! But if you have ever seen another GAP production, you will know this is most often the case–the stage surpasses any other community theatre I have seen.

    As for the play itself, I think what the viewer must be willing to accept–as is true with a lot of live theatre–that it is often the vision of the director to produce a play that is relevant for today, one that is believable and embraced by today’s audience. In my opinion, this rendition of Oklahoma does not attempt to mimic the original, but parallel it to a string degree while adding some “modern” comic relief and updated elements. So, for example, the “twist” on Will’s charcter should be embraced for what it is–young, fun-loving, a bit comical and engaging.

    As for the cast, I personally have spoken to a number of people who have attended the shows and everyone has given NOTHING but very positive reviews—from the captivating, animated portrayals by Hugh, Molly and Megan, to the believability of Kevin being a real cowboy, to the tremendous voices of Eric and Molly, to the dynamic energy and expression of Quentin and ALL those FANTASTIC cowboys and farmers, to Kathy’s tremendous ability to recall all of her MANY lines and her undying energy as she portrays Aunt Eller (oh my gosh, all of those animated faces she makes that just make us smile and laugh!), to Ali’s developing confidence in her first lead role and her poise embracing the dance in the dream sequence, to the dynamic townsfolk characters created by the supporting cast that totally rounds out and shapes the entire backbone of Oklahoma (pay special attention to Paul Griffin who is fabulously animated!)…

    Keeping in mind that this IS community theatre and NOT professional, the cast does a wonderful job taking us back in time and sharing a love story set amidst a climate where “…the cowmen and the farmers should be friends.”

    Certainly community theatre has a variety of performers and ability levels, but when it’s all said and done, you walk away from this production feeling good and humming the tune of Oklahoma throughout the rest of the day.

    Each actor, actress and person involved with this summer’s production should hold their heads high and be infinitely proud of the many individual components that together creates a whole!

  5. I write regarding Mr. Simmons’ critique of the Glyndon Area Players production of Oklahoma! I, too, attended the opening night show and was impressed that this local community theatre group was able to pull together a large, talented cast, with ages ranging from young children to “older” adults, who all sang, danced and happily performed for the pleasure of the audience as well as their own. It was truly an enjoyable evening for me and friends I had invited. The scenery and stagecraft were awesome. Obviously, a first night performance may need some tweaking, but the cast performed with heart and I didn’t hear one off-note.

    I guess I would like to remind Mr. Simmons that this is, indeed, community theatre. It’s not Broadway. Such a lengthy criticism that directly targeted a number of performers had to be disheartening for them. I hope the cast will not be discouraged by one person’s opinion, and that they finish their run with gusto, aplomb and the applause they so deserve.

    Hopefully, this review will not deter folks from enjoying an evening of familiar songs, and a story with a happy ending performed by members of our own community. We need to celebrate and support our local arts, whether they be visual, audio or performance based.