Tuesday, March 06, 2007


OKLAHOMA! continued.

Snowed through the night, Friday, and most of the day, Saturday, but the show went on. Actually, temperature near enough to freezing that the main roads were clear.

We got a backstage tour -- here's the theatre interior -- had dinner (Italian), then went to the show.

From the time Laurey (Kaci) walked out of Aunt Eller's cabin singing "Oh, what a beautiful morning," we were captivated. Here's Susie's review and impressions.

"When I was a little girl in the fifth grade, my dad (a high school music teacher in Raton, New Mexico) took my mom, my brother and me to Colorado Springs to see the traveling production of "Oklahoma." What a thrill---that was my first exposure to the musical theatre. A few years later I was cast as Ado Annie in my college production of "Oklahoma." I remember that my dad sat in the balcony, hung over the railing and cried like a baby--from pride, I hope. Little did I know that some fifty years later I would see my precious granddaughter in the leading role of Laurey and not to be outdone by my dad, I cried like a baby.

"Now, of course, we all can brag about our outstanding grandchildren, but I'm here to tell you that she was beyond outstanding! Her reviews have been wonderful and she has great times ahead of her at the music conservatory in her college of choice--Baldwin-Wallace. Interestingly enough, I was able to dig out some old reviews of my college performances and sent them to Kaci. I told her that I didn't want her to think that she got all of her talent from her mother!

"Luckily, we have been able to see a couple of her other performances but this production was staged by the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre and was quite a production. I feel so blessed to be able to travel to see as many of our grandchildren's activities as we have. We now have six grandchildren--Matt (Jeff's son) is all grown up, Tony is attending the College of Santa Fe (close to his Grami and Rob), Andrew in the 8th grade (a drummer and a good soccer player), Jason (a first grader and also a good soccer player) and our new little China doll, Malia. God is good!"

We went back for Sunday matinee and it seemed even better, or maybe it was because we had seats with better acoustics. Of course, the cast loosened up when Ice, the horse that is led on stage at the beginning of the play, loosened up in another way. His trainer soon appeared with a shovel and wet rag and that took care of that.

Monday it was back to Midway Airport, Chicago. We flew to Las Vegas with Heidi for a couple of days of basketball, maybe more -- Mountain West Conference tournaments, men's and women's. Won't report on that. It was in all the papers.


Rob and Susie

Friday, March 02, 2007

OKLAHOMA! in Michigan

March 2, 2007

Well, another kind of OKLAHOMA trip. Granddaughter Kaci Hinkle is starring as Laurey in the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre presentation of OKLAHOMA! We are going and the other three Hinkle kids are also so there will be a family reunion in Grand Rapids this weekend. Well, that was the plan, but winter weather intervened.

We planned to leave Albq on Thursday, March 1, and were on the way to the airport early that morning when we got phone call from daughter Mandi, closely watching the weather from her SW Airlines vantage point. Weather outlook seemed bad enough in Chicago that we decided to wait until the next day. On Friday both Mandi and daughter Heidi would be flying in to Chicago and we would meet them there, weather willing, and drive to Grand Rapids together. That part worked.
As we left Albq we were told that Chicago was under weather advisory, meaning that our flight could be diverted. But, it wasn't. Strong wind and blowing snow in Chicago made for a bumpy descent but we all got in, had lunch, picked up rental car, and headed for Grand Rapids, normally a 3 hour drive away. Very cold and windy as we selected our car: the car we finally left in was our third choice: first car was too small, second car was too smokey, but the third car was ju-ust right!

Strong wind and light snow the first half of the way, but not sticking to the roadway, so no problem. Then, on up into Michigan, on I-196 along the SW side of the state, traffic slowed to a crawl due to numerous incidents of cars sliding off the road. Almost all were from the southbound lanes, though, and it never seemed particularly treacherous in our lanes. With cell phones we kept in touch with Kaci's father, Matt, all the way and finally got to their house about 4.5 hours after leaving Chicago's Midway Airport.

We made it, but, unfortunately, son, Jeff, and Valerie Hinkle couldn't fly out of Sioux Falls, SD. Airport was closed Friday under blizzard whiteout conditions and would still be closed Saturday. Too bad. Note for the future: Do not plan trips to or out of the upper midwest in early March. Earlier in the planning stages we had planned to drive Tuzigoot, but decided against it, partly because of possibility of winter weather problems and partly because we decided to fly to Las Vegas from here in order to see some of the Mountain West Conference basketball tournaments.
Meanwhile, here are some excerpts from the newspaper's review of OKLAHOMA after its opening:
As the main twosome, Alexander and Hinkle shine, for the most part, although the male lead's singing voice could have been more robust here and there. Granted, it was hard to compete with Hinkle, who delivers the kind of voluminous, dazzling vocals that seem made for musical theater. .... Hinkle is ideal as Laurey, coy but not silly, and sassy without being over-the-top.

So you can see why we're eager to see the show. Our unbiased reviews in the next installment.


Susie and Rob