From Where I Sit: Californian sees Oklahoma in Arizona

By: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
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The election is over. Many of you are excited. Many of you are disheartened. Perhaps we can pull our perspective back a bit and remember that all of us are thankful to be a part of this wonderful country.

As time grows by we often go our separate ways as we stretch our wings and fly. Such is the case with my oldest son Bradley. A 2002 graduate of Folsom High, he went on to graduate from Arizona State University with a degree in theater.

He has participated in numerous shows, recently spending a few years in New York. Currently he is working in the Arizona Broadway Theater’s production of “Oklahoma.” It has been some years since we last saw one of his shows, so Carol and I planned a trip last weekend to Phoenix.

Even though the boring and bland big box suburban wilderness is replicated innumerable times throughout America, each city exudes some of its own local flavor as well. Phoenix is no different.

The show “Oklahoma” was written in 1931 and first put on as a show in 1943. It is set in the territory (not state yet) of Oklahoma in 1906.

Brad played the part of Jud Fry, the bad guy. I have always tried to be reticent in the praise of our children. Too often when they were young I was put off by all of the parents who thought their children were geniuses or special. However, I have got to brag.

I was so proud of my boy. He will always be my boy, even at 28. He got his bellowing voice from dad, though his has mellowed into a “coffee-rich baritone” (the Arizona Republic’s reviewers words, not mine).

His duet with lead Peter Carrier (“Pore Jud is Daid”) and his solo (“Lonely Room”) elicited heartfelt responses from the crowd both times we saw the show. His portrayal was gripping and spot-on. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that he actually was a bad guy.

To borrow an old Midwestern phrase, the three days last weekend went by faster than you could shake a stick at it. Sure there were many other talented participants in the show, but our eyes continued to drift to a young man who has been playing the lifetime role of my son.

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