“Midwestern Gothic” has an unstable farmhand who lusts after the female lead, not unlike the character Jud in “Oklahoma!” Like Laurey with Aunt Eller, Stina has a mother figure, but one so bored that she is looking for dangerous trouble, too. While Curly and Laurey worry in their big duet that “People Will Say We’re in Love,” Stina and Red worry in theirs about “The Shame of My Loving You.”
“I want to emphasize that we’re not making fun of these characters,” Schmidt adds. “What I dislike about this genre is how easy it is to take potshots at these people. We’re not depicting these people as rubes, because that would mean making fun of ourselves. We’ve tried to portray the situation with as much empathy as possible.”
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