Richard Leighton SAG/AFTRA/AEA

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"Oklahoma!" North American Reviews

Some of what critics across North America had to say about Richard's 1981 groundbreaking rendition of Jud Fry:

"Richard Leighton is a solidly menacing and yet sympathetic Jud Fry, the malicious hired hand who covets Laurie, a stage villan far more fully drawn than any previously presented in musical comedy. Mr. Leighton acts for truth in a sullen but ferocious characterization and joins lugubriously in "Pore Jud is Daid", before he realized he is being mocked, is a sound bass-baritone voice."
Elliot Norton,
Boston Herald American

"Christine Andreas as Laurey and Laurence Gittard as Curley are so perfectly matched that the attempt by Richard Leighton, as Jud, to come between them is almost an obscenity....Leighton sings his one song ("Lonely Room") with such conviction that he reaches out and snatches sympathy for miserable old Jud." Kevin Kelly, The Boston Globe

"...In fact, the only Oklahoman here who's not cuter than a cornhusk doll is Richard Leighton's seething Jud Fry, who brings the musical to life while threatening to turn it into Sweeney Todd. Leighton, a former child soloist with the Metropolitan Opera and Vietnam vet, has a rumbling voice and a frightening presence. And he treats Oklahoma! as if it were real, not a no-longer-living legend. What's more, beneath the grime and unfashionable garb, Leighton's Jud is not unattractive. His dark, intense desires just might appeal to Laurey's libido, even as he affronts her ego...This interpretation may be too kinky for the waking parts of Oklahoma!, but it gives you something to ponder as the wheat grows." Carolyn Clay, The Boston Phoenix

"Richard Leighton's Jud Fry will really get to you. He is menacing, evil, dirty, greasy, obscene--a topnotch characterization."
Joan Lautman,
The Boston Ledger

"...For that matter the production is at its strongest in the vocal department with Richard Leighton walking off with top honors as,
certainly, the best Jud I have ever heard." Myron Galloway,
The Montreal Star

"Quite the best voice in the show, however, belongs to Richard Leighton as Jud Fry. He's also the best actor. In fact, taken in all, the role of Jud Fry is probably the most real of the entire cast." Kelly Nestruck, Toronto News/Post

"Richard Leighton gives Jud a pitiable malevolance--his "Lonely Room" is the evening's dramatic highlight." Robert Butler,
The Kansas City Times

"Richard Leighton's Jud Fry is one of the best interpretations of this villanous roles ever, being strong enough to overcome the obvious stock qualities of the character." George Anderson,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"As promised by director William Hammerstein, Richard Leighton's portrayal of Jud Fry is not only well sung but unusually sensitive...The bludgeoning of Jud's self-esteem provides an insight into him and Laurey which is seldom suggested." Ed Blank,
The Pittsburgh Press

"Richard Leighton gets all one could ask from Jud Fry: acting the role with magnetism and complex characterization, and singing it with a powerful bass-baritone." Herbert Simpson, The Times-Union

"A surprise was Richard Leighton's portrayal of Jud Fry, one that added a pitiful depth and tragic dignity to the character. Leighton is also a fine baritone and his "Lonely Room" lament was one of the singularly lovely moments in the show." David Hawley, St. Paul Pioneer Press

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