As promised, Bri Johnson was kidnapped yesterday as a reward for graduating OISE/getting hired by Strathcona-Tweedsmuir. Our destination: Stratford, to see the Stratford Festival’s production of Oklahoma!…except Bri didn’t know this until we were in Milton, when I took the blindfold off (literally) and announced our destination. The show was one of the best productions we’ve seen at Stratford since…well, ever. The leads were perfectly cast; Bri pointed out several times that Oklahoma! would be easy to do badly without perfect casting, but the Stratford leads are so good that when you walk out of the Festival Theatre you couldn’t imagine anybody else playing their roles. Donna Feore’s staging is typically robust; the big production numbers are dazzling. And, for absolutely no reason, I’ve chosen to illustrate all this with a production still from Brokeback Mountain (the cowman and the cowman should be friends, I guess). Anyway: it’s an excellent production of a pivotal show in musical theatre history, and I recommend it whole-heartedly. (By the way, Oklahoma! was also the first musical I was ever in; seeing the show yesterday brought back all kinds of happy memories of the 1997 Westgate C.V.I. production with Kevin McEwen and Jon Smith in leading roles and the first bassoon part dominating the orchestral band. I’m rambling again.) The kidnapping, meanwhile, was a raging success; Bri had no idea where we were going until I let her take off her blindfold. Again, she deserves it; I just wish I could’ve brought her there in a surrey with a fringe on the top.