Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
There’s a reason it is a part of the show’s title, because it depicts the confusion and questions of an eleven-year-old girl who faces immortality. It is placed right after the Tucks have said “goodbye” and have given her their music box, in hopes of seeing her after turns seventeen. Now that the Tucks are not with her, she must face the decision on her own. Winnie has the same questions any other person of any age would have. It becomes more vulnerable and accessible for people to understand this broad term of eternal life because it is wrapped up in the simplicity of a little girl’s mind. When we look at immortality on it’s own, it can be a scary thing to face, which is why it’s brought to people from a child’s perspective. Not only is it a beautiful melody, but it’s simple, it builds in uncertainty which then turns into somewhat of a peace in making her decision.
“The Wheel-Finale” immediately follows the captivating ballet that narrates the rest of Winnie Foster’s life on earth through the gift of dance. It brings us to the most “present day” where the Tucks have come back to Treegap to find her gravestone that Mae reads out loud, “Winnie Foster Jackson-Cherished Wife, Devoted Mother, Dearest Grandmother” followed by Angus saying “And an expert fisherman.. looks like she lived the life we never could.” It brings back the beautiful picture Angus and Winnie depicted earlier in the show, the idea of life as a Wheel. Angus originally took Winnie fishing to convince her to live a mortal life and not drink from the vial. Which she indeed did. In return that is why he called her an expert fisherman, because she became an expert of living life. They celebrate the life she lived and the beauty of living life to the fullest, the importance of letting life move on. The music goes from being sentimental and it builds with the chorus coming back in and bringing back the beauty and simple impact of the “day nah nahs”. It leaves us with the fact that life keeps going, we never stop growing, changing, and moving on no matter what we decide. We have hope and a purpose to live life to the fullest no matter what we face.
A big similarity between Oklahoma and Tuck Everlasting is the fact they both use the emotions and gift of storytelling through dance when words aren’t enough. They both incorporate a beautiful ballet that either captures what has happened up to the point in the story or what happened beyond the storyline. The gift of dance is also used widely throughout both musicals to give energy, excitement, and to further along the story. The genres of dance are vastly different though. They both take place in smaller towns and use the chorus to give it the small town-like feel. They both discuss the importance of community and/or family. The overall tones of the two shows are completely opposite though. Tuck Everlasting has a magical yet sentimental tone that discusses the importance of life, friendship, and choice of a natural life cycle. Life is full of independence, greed, change, love, and the ability to understand the right thing to do and act upon it, even if it’s not the popular and easier choice. Oklahoma even though it addresses some of these themes, are discussed from a more light-hearted perspective. The style of music is also vastly different. Oklahoma incorporate the classic Broadway and what started the “Golden Age” sound with romantic duets and big showstopper dance break songs. While Tuck Everlasting is full of folksy, modern Broadway music that allows vulnerability and simplicity in melodies to show the character’s emotion journey. While Oklahoma addresses important social issues of its time, it still causes you to leave the theatre in joyous song and celebration. A New York Times reporter reviewed Tuck Everlasting and said, “Enter “Tuck Everlasting,” a warm-spirited and piercingly touching musical that has nothing flashy or splashy about it.” Tuck Everlasting causes you to contemplate life and the importance of living it to the fullest when you leave the theatre instead of remembering the flashy, showstopping songs, you leave gaining something from the experience and in awe of the beautiful simplicities of the show