ARENA STAGE // Curly // Directed by Molly Smith
Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Actor in a Musical
"Country's changing, and we got to change with it!," Curly, in the charming guise of Nicholas Rodriguez, confides to his prairie love, Laurey, portrayed with a beguiling earthiness by Eleasha Gamble. It might seem that in casting a Latino and an African American as the lead couple, Smith has placed Curly's line in italics too deliberately. But not only is there some historical support for these choices, it's also a fact that each of them sings like a dream. In the benevolent land of opportunity that is conjured here, they've earned these jobs, on merit"