As Jud Fry Singing
Lonely Room from OKLAHOMA.
Inland Theater League Award Winner.
I loved acting in the role of Jud Fry. I liked getting into the skin of the character. While those around him don’t see much to like about Jud, Jud doesn’t see that about himself. Their perception of him, is not his perception of himself. He believes he should get the girl; A girl like Laurie. He believes that he holds second place to no man. Especially some smooth talking cowboy named Curly. And he isn’t going to let anybody get in the way of him getting what he wants. Nobody.
While I was delving into who Jud Fry was, it made me realize that Rogers and Hammerstein revisited the character of Jud Fry when they created the character of Billy Bigelow in Carousel. That same chip on his shoulder. That same yearning to be better than what fate made his life to be motivates Billy the same way that it motivates Jud. The one big difference in the roles is how the girl in the show thinks of each of them. In Oklahoma, Laurie is afraid of Jud. In Carousel, Julie loves Billy. That element of love changes the tragic villain of Jud, in Oklahoma, into the tragic but sympathetic, and loveable character of Billy Bigelow in Carousel.
I remember that during rehearsals for OKLAHOMA! many of the people and kids that played the town folk in the show were a little afraid of me. I used to chuckle about that to myself, because you could see it in their eyes. And I loved it.. I didn’t want to play Jud as a villain. He doesn’t think of himself that way. But I did want to play him with a sense of resentment, insult, and anger, and a need to get what he wants, even if others don’t want it for him. Especially love, since no one in his world loves Jud. And he knows it.
Love, or the lack of love, can make such a difference in how a role like Jud Fry is played, and how he is perceived.