Saturday, October 01, 2011

Sinfully decadent!

The Odyssey

by contributor Donna Shor

Champagne in hand was just the beginning of a double-header evening: A dining cruise aboard The Odyssey on the Potomac followed by Arena Stage’s OKLAHOMA.

The glass-enclosed modern ship, built low to clear the many bridges that bisect the water, proved a comfortable seat for dining, checking the scenery and the dance floor.

Dinner offered attractive entrees of Seafood Ravioli topped with bay shrimp and scallops; Roasted Vegetable Napoleon; Maple-Glazed Chipotle Chicken; marinated Argentine Salmon with mashed yucca cake and posole (well-sauced hominy).

This columnist sampled the last two leaving barely room for the New York Cheesecake with maple walnut sauce. Then there was the Odyssey’s Signature Decadent Chocolate Cake, everything the menu said, sinfully decadent.

During the trip the Chane (sic) Link Trio provided mellow music to match our glide around the river. As we neared the shore the tempo speeded up and a line dance started with instant and unexpected steps called out.

Deboarding and time to head to the spectacular new building of Arena Stage wasn't a problem; it was just 200 steps across the street, giving us 25 minutes for seating and reading the program.

Illustration by Douglas Fraser

The musical, written years ago by Rogers and Hammerstein, still deserves its long hit status as a major show that changed Broadway musicals. It is a sweet and funny show with a few embellishments that only made it better. That marvelous music—songs we’ve hummed for years—were made glorious by the excellent singers. The songs and the innovative dancing brought the audience to their feet in enthusiasm.

Underlying the love story and the cowboys versus farmer element of that era was the fresh enthusiasm of the Oklahoma territory dwellers as they achieved statehood and the Oklahoma oils gushed prosperity.   

The  evening proved so successful this season - people loved the impeccably served dinners and the easy access to the theater—that Arena Stage and Odyssey are planning their joint 2012 season. Don’t miss it.