Reviews: Walnut Hills' students impress with ‘Oklahoma'

localJenna Webster

Scott High School

The vocals were superb and helped breathe life into the characters. Witzeman as Curly opened the show with excellent intonation and his loveable, goofy spirit. He impressively kept up his energy throughout the whole show. Eaton developed a ditzy and innocent dimension to Ado Annie and her vocals were exceptional in “I Caint Say No.” Buchman and Speno’s vocals were of impressive note as well.
Ali Hakim (Austin Lamewona) and Andrew Carnes (Desmond Daly) added hilarious comedy, especially as Ali stared up at the end of the double-barrel of Andrew’s shotgun. Shapiro gave Jud Fry a sense of humanity as his obsession of Laurey overtook his mind. Helen Kinskey’s performance of the wise Aunt Eller was prominent as she prodded Laurey to show Curly her true feelings.

Richard Lowenburg

School for Creative and Performing Arts

The long-legged Witzeman presented a charismatic Curly, consistently glided over the baritone melodies with straight-tone ease. Witzeman’s energetic performance and bold choices drive the story forward. Playing against him, Shapiro’s Jud Fry was a highlight of the show. In a role that is easily caricatured as nothing more than a hateful villain, Shapiro found a wonderful gentleness within the character’s acrimony. Through his soulful lamentations in “Poor Jud Is Daid” and “Lonely Room,” Jud’s roughness softens and sympathy for him flows easily.

Ryan Mulvaney

Colerain High School

In its entirety, “Oklahoma!” had a very successful run on the Walnut Hills High School stage. Whether it was the genuine development of relationships between certain characters, the cast's ability to hold an accent throughout scenes, or the dynamic company musical numbers, the cast produced a thoroughly entertaining show.
Walnut Hills High School delivered a well-rounded production which adequately satisfied the audience and displayed a wide range of talent.  As the musical came to an end, the cast harmonized in the deliverance of the final show tune, "Oklahoma!,” which rang through the auditorium and brought a new life to Walnut Hills High School.

Kim Estenson

Colerain High School

The show was aided by skillfully applied technical aspects. The lighting had consistency, was well-timed, and had specific purpose. The lighting in “dream ballet” was prominent in how it assisted the audience understand the shift from Laurey being awake to asleep; it also created an eerie mood. Makeup under Dena Dave and Emily Silvius was done well, and the age makeup on Aunt Eller aided her characterization. The set changes were swift and quiet in order to keep the audience engaged in the plot.

Alyssa Batsakis

Taylor High School

One of the most outstanding performers was the leading man, Nick Witzeman, as the quirky and smooth-talking Curly McLain. His singing voice was one of the most impressive, as he sang a full range with the same present, musical-theater quality that rang through the whole auditorium. His singing was also paired with intriguing character development throughout as he showcased a cute and flirtatious version of Curly.
Another incredible performance was given by Isaac Shapiro as Jud Fry. Although actors notoriously play this role as an always vicious and evil character, Shapiro gave his own spin on the classic villain. Instead of entering and ending his life on stage with an angry Jud, he allowed the audience to see a more "human" side of this intense character.

Macartney Greer

Colerain High School

Throughout the show, light cues were impeccable hues of blues and greens, gradients that were without a doubt appealing to the eye. The light crew, which was constructed of six members (Erin Magner, Colzie Jackson, Sam Petersen, Elanor Eberhardt, Makayla Freimoth and Ben Tan), did a wildly efficient effort of lighting the stage in every color of day-glow to give the true impression of the country side. Not only was the lighting terrific for the Walnut Hills stage, but set crew (Seth Lorenz, Celeste Sprauge, Caleb Ponting, Nia Burns, Daniel Warningi, Jacob Pfeiffer, Alex Boland and stagecraft classes) did an equally fantastic job as well. While sets were minimal, they gave an antique look and appeared to be evidently eroded by the storms that had blustered through the plains.

Christiana Somers

School for Creative and Performing Arts

Some definite standouts included Ado Annie (Maddie Eaton) and her pa, Andrew Carnes (Desmond Daly). Eaton portrayed a ditzy Ado Annie who enthralled the audience every time she took the stage. Her performance of “I Caint Say No” showcased a professional quality of vocals and comedic style far beyond the years of most high school students. Daly's hilarious facial expressions and comedic timing stole every one of his scenes. Additionally, the dances were impressive, especially that of the featured dancers, led by dance captain Jordan Lauden Matts.

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