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Oklahoma!

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Oklahoma!

Original Broadway Cast Album Richard Rodgers Oscar Hammerstein II Oscar Hammerstein II Lynn Riggs' play Green Grow the Lilacs Productions 1943 Broadway 1947 West End 1951 Broadway revival 1955 Film 1979 Broadway revival 1980 West End revival 1998 West End revival 2002 Broadway revival 2010 UK Tour Awards 1993 Special Tony Award (50th Anniversary) Music Lyrics Book Basis

Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in Oklahoma Territory outside the town of Claremore in 1906, it tells the story of cowboy Curly McLain and his romance with farm girl Laurey Williams. A secondary romance concerns cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie.

It was a box-office smash and ran for an unprecedented 2. A special Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for Oklahoma! in the category of "Special Awards And Citations – Music" in 1944.2 Act II 3 Principal roles and notable performers 4 Musical numbers 5 Production history 5.7 Other productions 5. Oklahoma! features musical themes.The original Broadway production opened on March 31. Curley and Jud.[3][page needed][4] A fifteen-minute "dream ballet" reflects Laurey's struggle with her feelings about two men.5 1980 and 1998 West End revivals 5.[5] Contents [hide] 1 Background 2 Plot 2. or motifs. a musical play where the songs and dances are fully integrated into a well-made story with serious dramatic goals that are able to evoke genuine emotions other than laughter.4 1951 and 1979 Broadway revivals 5. building on the innovations of the earlier Show Boat.3 Original West End 5. that recur throughout the work to connect the music and story. It has long been a popular choice for school and community productions. foreign productions and an Academy Award-winning 1955 film adaptation.[2] In addition.1 Act I 2. tours 5. later enjoying award-winning revivals.1 Original Broadway 5. epitomized the development of the "book musical". national tours.S.212 performances.8 1955 film adaptation 6 Recordings 7 Reception 8 Antecedents and influence 9 Awards and nominations 10 Cultural references 11 Notes 12 References 13 Further reading 14 External links Background[edit source | editbeta] .2 Early U.6 2002 Broadway revival 5. 1943.[1] This musical.

and he found the farmers and cowhands in Green Grow the Lilacs corny and uninspiring. Rodgers had always written the music first. since the unfocused Hart needed something on which to base his lyrics. Rodgers wanted to work on the project and obtained the rights for himself and Hart. Hammerstein had assured Rodgers that if Hart was ever unable to work. the Theatre Guild produced Lynn Riggs's Green Grow the Lilacs. whose first successful collaboration. urbane shows that would showcase his witty lyric-writing. saw a summer-stock production supplemented with traditional folk songs and square dances and decided the play could be the basis of a musical that might revive the struggling Guild.[10][11] This partnership allowed both Rodgers and Hammerstein to follow their preferred writing methods: Hammerstein preferred to write a complete lyric before it was set to music. The New Moon (1927) and Show Boat (1927). one of the Guild's producers. he wrote musicals. She contacted Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Rodgers. Rodgers and Hammerstein were each well known for creating Broadway hits with other collaborators. Theresa Helburn. During the tryouts of Rodgers and Hart's Best Foot Forward in 1941. he preferred contemporary. "The Last Time I Saw Paris". The Garrick Gaieties.By the early 1940s. including such popular successes as Babes in Arms (1937). he would be willing to take his place. but when he had approached Jerome Kern about it. had been produced by the Theatre Guild in 1925. Hart no longer felt like writing.[6] Among other successes. had produced over two dozen musicals since the 1920s. prompting Rodgers to approach Hammerstein to ask if he would consider working with him. ten years later in 1941.[7] By the early 1940s. Rodgers had asked Oscar Hammerstein II to collaborate with him and Hart. He embarked on a vacation to Mexico. the latter declined. advising Rodgers that Hammerstein would be a good choice of a new collaborator. Though the play was not successful. The Boys from Syracuse (1938) and Pal Joey (1940). In Rodgers's previous collaborations with Hart. with Lorenz Hart. and he eagerly took the opportunity. Hammerstein had written the words for Rose-Marie (1924). songs and films. a play about settlers in Oklahoma's Indian Territory. and he became unreliable. The Desert Song (1926). which was included in the 1941 film Lady Be Good.[8] In 1931. consumed by his longstanding alcoholism.[9] Coincidentally in 1942. Hammerstein's previous collaborators included . Though less productive in the 1930s. spiraling downward. Moreover. and Rodgers preferred to set completed lyrics to music. Hammerstein found out that Rodgers was seeking someone to write the book. sharing an Academy Award for his song with Jerome Kern. Hart lost interest in the musical. Hammerstein had thought of musicalizing Green Grow the Lilacs. Hart had sunk into alcoholism and emotional turmoil.

The role reversal in the Rodgers and Hammerstein partnership permitted Hammerstein to craft the lyrics into a fundamental part of the story so that the songs could amplify and intensify the story instead of diverting it. Green Grow the Lilacs. Vincent Youmans. suggested Shirley Temple as Laurey and Groucho Marx as Ali Hakim. no jokes.”[11] But Rodgers and Hammerstein were confident. and show-stopping specialty dances. the banalities of the old musical stage became intolerable. Jud and Curly. insisted that performers more dramatically appropriate for the roles be cast.[9] As Rodgers and Hammerstein began developing the new musical. they agreed that their musical and dramatic choices would be dictated by the source material. Rodgers and Hammerstein.[10] Musicals of that era featured big production numbers. What a Beautiful Morning" changed the history of musical theater: “After a verse like that. 1943. As a result of this decision.[13] Expectations for the show were low. Though Theresa Helburn. Oklahoma! and the decision to retitle the musical after that number. roles in musicals were usually filled by actors who could sing."[11] The New York Post was the only major paper to give Oklahoma! a mixed review. with little dramatic development. for which Hammerstein then wrote lyrics. and Kern. casting singers who could act. who all wrote music first. Herbert Stothart. novelty acts. codirector of the Theatre Guild. no chance.[12] Between the world wars. Its critic felt that while the songs were pleasant enough. The New Haven audiences and then Boston critics were enthusiastic. there were no stars in the production. with director Rouben Mammoulian's support. sold out and won a special Pulitzer Prize. punctuated with songs that effectively halted the story for their duration. but two would prove significant: the addition of the show-stopping musical number.composers Rudolf Friml. Todd had been wrong. Brooks Atkinson wrote in The New York Times that the show's opening number. sung to a buoyant melody. another unusual step. Only a few changes were made before it opened on Broadway.[14] The show's creativity stimulated . who provided one of the show's most notable and enduring features: a 15minute first-act ballet finale (often referred to as the dream ballet) depicting Laurey's struggle to evaluate her suitors. and the show had no star power. Hammerstein had written six flops in a row.[12] The first title given to the work was Away We Go! which opened for out-oftown-tryouts in New Haven's Shubert Theatre on March 11. "Oh.[9] The production was choreographed by Agnes de Mille (her first time choreographing a musical on Broadway). they sounded much alike. not by musical comedy conventions. the show opened to raves from the critics. Producer Mike Todd walked out after the first act during the tryout and wisecracked “No legs. the libretti typically focused on humor. but Rodgers and Hammerstein chose the reverse.

Later. There will be a box social dance that night.Rodgers and Hammerstein's contemporaries and ushered in the "Golden Age" of American musical theatre. a Persian peddler. feeling that Curly had waited too long. The man who wins each lunch basket will eat the lunch with the girl who prepared it. unaware of its deadly secret. and Laurey flounces off. Unfortunately. Meanwhile. but she teases him about it until he says he made it up to get back at her. He attempts to persuade her by telling her that he will take her in the finest carriage money can buy ("The Surrey with the Fringe on Top"). which. but Ado Annie insists she loves them both ("I Cain't Say No"). She accepts to spite Curly. while Gertie Cummings flirts with Curly (her obnoxious laugh floating in to taunt Laurey). Curly discovers that Laurey is going to the box social with Jud and tries to convince her to go with him instead. not realizing that Curly really has rented such a rig. cowboy Will Parker returns bedazzled and souvenir-laden from a trip to modern Kansas City ("Kansas City"). Hurt by her refusal. but with a hidden blade inside) for Ado Annie's father. Ado Annie confesses to Laurey that while Will has been away. Will also purchased a "Little Wonder" (a metal tube used for looking at pictures. but she refuses. he forces Hakim at gunpoint to agree to marry her. He won $50 at the fair. Curly goes to the smokehouse where Jud lives to talk with . Andrew Carnes. Curly asks Laurey to go with him. He and Laurey tease each other. Laurey and her friends prepare for the social. although she is afraid of Jud. The lonely. is the money he needs to marry Ado Annie. he spent all the money on gifts for her. What a Beautiful Mornin'"). she has been spending a lot of time with Ali Hakim. Afraid to tell Jud she won't go with him. Andrew Carnes discovers Annie with Ali Hakim.[11] Plot[edit source | editbeta] Act I[edit source | editbeta] In Oklahoma territory in 1906. which includes an auction of lunch baskets prepared by the local girls to raise funds for a schoolhouse. After questioning Ado Annie about their relationship. disturbed farm hand Jud Fry has become obsessed with Laurey and asks her to the dance. Hakim and the other men lament the unfairness of the situation ("It's a Scandal! It's a Outrage!"). Laurey tries to convince Curly (and herself) that she does not love him ("People Will Say We're in Love"). cowboy Curly McLain looks forward to the beautiful day ahead as he wanders into farm girl Laurey Williams's yard ("Oh. while Laurey's Aunt Eller looks on. Laurey tells her she'll have to choose between them. Laurey tells her friends that she doesn't really care about Curly ("Many a New Day"). according to his girlfriend Ado Annie's father.

as she reluctantly agrees not to flirt with other men ("All Er Nuthin'"). Curly suggests that since Jud does not feel appreciated. during an upbeat square dance ("The Farmer and the Cowman"). but Jud outbids them all. Curly outbids Jud and wins the basket. he threatens her. but his plan is foiled when Aunt Eller (knowing what is happening) loudly asks Curly for a dance. he could hang himself. which the unscrupulous peddler guarantees will reveal her true love. Jud also contributes to this by purchasing Will's Little Wonder. Jud's resolve to win Laurey becomes even stronger. not realizing that without the $50. his horse. Ali Hakim buys Will's souvenirs from Kansas City for $50. and they leave for the box social. She then fires him as her farm . and he vows to make her his bride ("Lonely Room"). Her dream takes a nightmarish turn when Jud appears and kills Curly. he has come for her. and Curly sells all his prized possessions to raise money: his saddle. Confused by her feelings for Curly and her fear of Jud. Laurey purchases a "magic potion" (really a bottle of smelling salts) from Ali Hakim. Various men bid. Laurey first dreams of what marriage to Curly would be like. he would no longer have the money her father insisted he needs to "purchase" marriage with her. the rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys over fences and water rights has led to fighting. Later that night. the peddler bids $51 to get the basket so that Will can approach Andrew Carnes with the $50 and claim Ado Annie as his bride. Their talk turns into an ominous confrontation about Laurey. The auction starts and Will bids $50 on Ado Annie's basket. Will and Annie work out their differences. The dream makes her realize that Curly is the right man for her. Jud confronts Laurey about his feelings for her. Curly and Jud engage in a ferocious bidding war. When she admits that she does not return them. She cannot escape him. trying to protect Laurey. which Aunt Eller ends by firing a gun to silence everyone. Jud has saved all his money so he can win Laurey's basket. Jud discreetly tries to kill Curly with the Little Wonder. After Curly leaves.[15] Laurey is upset when she sees Curly at the dance with Gertie. Act II[edit source | editbeta] At the social. then falls asleep under the influence of the laudanum ("Dream Sequence"). knowing of the blade concealed within it. In an effort to rid himself of Ado Annie. and everyone would realize how much they care about him ("Pore Jud Is Daid"). but it is too late to change her mind about going to the dance with Jud.him. and even his gun. The auction becomes much more serious when Laurey's basket comes up for auction. Desperate to be rid of Ado Annie. In an extended dream ballet sequence. She muses on leaving her dreams of love behind and joining the man she loves ("Out of My Dreams"). confused by her desires.

at Aunt Eller's urging. harasses Laurey by kissing her and attacks Curly with a knife. Principal roles and notable performers[edit source | editbeta] Character Curly McLain Laurey Williams Jud Fry Aunt Eller Ado Annie Carnes Will Parker Andrew Carnes Ali Hakim Description A cowboy in love with Laurey Aunt Eller's niece. an independent young woman A hired hand on Aunt Eller's ranch. The wedding guests hold a makeshift trial for Curly. She tells him that she has fired Jud and is frightened by what Jud might do now. The judge. Laurey bursts into tears and calls for Curly. screaming at him to get off her property. a mysterious and dangerous loner Laurey's aunt. Andrew Carnes. A Lee Dixon° Ralph Rigg Joseph Bu Mandvi Jane Lawre Musical numbers[edit source | editbeta] Act I Act II . marries Ali Hakim ° denotes original Broadway cast Betty Gard Maureen L Celeste Ho Boevers. Jud furiously threatens Laurey before he departs. Jud falls on his own knife and soon dies. A drunken Jud reappears. Three weeks later. as the couple is due to leave for their honeymoon. F Howard Da Gertie Cummings A local farm girl. gullible young woman A simple young man in love with Ado Annie Ado Annie's father. reassures her and proposes to her. a respected community leader A flirtatious. Curly. Gertie. whom he unwillingly married after being threatened by her father with a shotgun. enamored of Ado Annie Alfred Drak Patrick Wil Joan Robe Gabrielle. and she accepts ("People Will Say We're In Love (Reprise)"). Ali Hakim decides to leave the territory and bids Ado Annie goodbye after telling her Will is the man she should marry. Ali Hakim returns with his new wife. seeing that she has turned to him for guidance and safety. He then realizes that he must now become a farmer. Laurey and Curly are married and everyone rejoices in celebration of the territory's impending statehood ("Oklahoma!"). Afterwards. During the celebration.hand. fond of Curly. declares the verdict: "not guilty!" Curly and Laurey depart on their honeymoon in the surrey with the fringe on top ("Finale Ultimo"). As Curly dodges a blow. eager to have her marry A Persian peddler.

& Aunt Eller "Kansas City" – Will Parker. George Church danced the part of "Dream Jud" but was replaced by Vladimir Kostenko only two months after the premiere. Laurey. Joseph Bulloff (Ali Hakim). The production ran for 2. a Broadway record that "would not be bested until My Fair Lady (1956). and therefore the original production of Oklahoma! received no theatrical awards. Aunt Eller. It ran on Broadway for five years and two months."[19] The Tony Awards and other awards now given for achievement in musical theatre were not in existence in 1943. finally closing on May 29. Joan Roberts (Laurey). Aunt Eller & Ensemble "Many a New Day" – Laurey and Female Ensemble "It's a Scandal! It's a Outrage!" – Ali Hakim & Ensemble "People Will Say We're in Love" – Curly & Laurey "Pore Jud Is Daid" – Curly & Jud "Lonely Room" – Jud "Out of My Dreams"/"Dream Ballet" – Laurey & Dream Figures • Entr'a • "The C • "All E • "Peop • "Okla A • Finale L Production history[edit source | editbeta] Original Broadway[edit source | editbeta] The original Broadway production opened on March 31. Male Ensemble "I Cain't Say No" – Ado Annie Entrance of Ensemble ("I Cain't Say No" and "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin'") – Will. Katharine Sergava danced the part of "Dream Laurey" and the small dancing part of Aggie was played by Bambi Linn. Betty Garde (Aunt Eller). Curly. 1948. grossing . It starred Alfred Drake (Curly). Marc Platt danced the role of "Dream Curly". 1943 at the St. Jane Lawrence (Gertie) and Barry Kelley (Ike). James Theatre in New York City. in 1944. A 1953 article in The New York Times reported that the show "is believed to be the only musical to have enjoyed a consecutive run of ten years. Connecticut.212 performances. Lee Dixon (Will Parker). tours[edit source | editbeta] The "first of several" national tours began in New Haven.• • • • • • • • • • • • • Overture – Orchestra "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin'" – Curly Laurey's Entrance – Laurey & Curly "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top" – Curly. It was directed by Rouben Mamoulian and choreographed by Agnes de Mille.[18] "The demand for tickets was unprecedented as the show became more popular in the months that followed" the opening. Early U.[19] Oklahoma! ran for over five years. Celeste Holm (Ado Annie).S. Howard Da Silva (Jud Fry). Ado Annie.

000. The tour of the national company. .[27][28] A 1979 revival opened at the Palace Theatre on Broadway on December 13. Mamoulian and De Mille directed and choreographed.[21][22] The New York Times reported: The tenth anniversary of the Broadway opening of Oklahoma! will be celebrated in Washington.000. The show starred Christine Andreas as Laurey.."[20] The United Service Organizations sponsored a tour to U. running for 293 performances and nine previews. Denmark. scenery.. opening at the Theatre Royal. beginning at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles on May 1. 1979. Laurence Guittard as Curly. after the ship carrying the cast. England. 1947. Christine Ebersole as Ado Annie. and the production was restaged by Jerome Whyte.000. running for 1. It starred Howard Keel (then known as Harold Keel) and Betty Jane Watson.[23] Original West End[edit source | editbeta] Oklahoma! was the first of a post-war wave of Broadway musicals to reach London's West End.[30] . and costumes ran aground on a sandbank off Southampton. Mary Wickes as Aunt Eller. "upwards of 20. Mamoulian and de Mille returned to direct and choreograph. and Vidnovic won a Drama Desk Award.S.[25] 1951 and 1979 Broadway revivals[edit source | editbeta] A 1951 revival produced by the Theatre Guild opened at The Broadway Theatre on May 9. 1947 to rave press reviews and sellout houses. Martin Vidnovic as Jud Fry. which started late in 1943. and Gemze de Lappe recreated Agnes De Mille's choreography. South Africa. Sweden. It ran for a limited engagement of 40 performances before going on tour.O. William Hammerstein (Oscar's son) directed. Ridge Bond played Curly. Drury Lane on April 30. This production started as a cross-country national tour. 1980.[29] Andreas and Groener both received Tony Award nominations for their performances. a 10th anniversary revival opened on August 31 at the New York City Center Theatre. shows] during the war".[26] In 1953.000 people thus far have seen the show in the United States.$7. 1979 and closed on August 24.543 performances. Australia and through [the U. has grossed $15. The cast included Florence Henderson as Laurey. Ridge Bond as Curly and Barbara Cook as Annie. Henry Clarke was Jud. military bases in 1945 that lasted for several years. Patricia Northrop played Laurey.[24] A pre-London run opened a day late at the Manchester Opera House on April 18. Harry Groener as Will Parker and Bruce Adler as Ali Hakim.000.000. and ran for 100 performances. and Jacqueline Sundt played Ado Annie. where the Theatre Guild's touring company of the phenomenal musical will be playing at that time. According to a Guild estimate. 1951.S.

but she was eventually promoted to the leading role. produced by Cameron Mackintosh. John Owen Edwards (musical director) and William David Brohn (orchestrator). initially in the chorus role of Doris. Leicester. both of whom were nominated for Olivier Awards.[31] This production starred John Diedrich as Curly and Alfred Molina as Jud Fry. The production was Maria Friedman's debut in the West End. and it eventually settled in the West End. in January 1980.[34] Hugh Jackman on the cover of the DVD of the London revival A new production of the musical was presented by the National Theatre in London at the Olivier Theatre. and running until September 19. 1981. and Madge Ryan was Aunt Eller. A cast recording of this production was issued by JAY Records and on the Showtime! label. He would later reprise his work for Mackintosh's 1998 London revival. 1980. A UK tour followed. London. with Hensley winning the award for Best Supporting Actor in . The De Mille choreography was again adapted by de Lappe.1980 and 1998 West End revivals[edit source | editbeta] The following year. The production team included Trevor Nunn (director). James Hammerstein directed a production at the Haymarket Theatre. 1998. opening on July 15. on September 17.[32] Rosamund Shelley played Laurey. Susan Stroman (choreographer).[33] John Owen Edwards was the musical director. This production received numerous Olivier Award nominations. opening at the Palace Theatre.

[37] Plans to transfer to Broadway with the London cast were thwarted by Actors' Equity. with Hensley winning as Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical and Susan Stroman winning for choreography. especially in lighting designer David Hersey's lustrous palette. Best Featured Actress in a Musical and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (which was awarded to Hensley).[36] and so the show was transferred to the Lyceum Theatre in the West End for a six-month run. The international cast included Hugh Jackman as Curly. The production closed on February 23. It was nominated for seven Tony Awards. the limited engagement was a sell-out and broke all previous box office records. Public Television in November 2003."[42] The New York Daily News review commented that "Visually. again pulses with the promise of a land on the verge of transformation. Vicki Simon as Ado Annie.S." The review also stated that the Royal National Theatre "brought it . 2003 after 388 performances. orchestrator William David Brohn and dance arranger David Krane adapted Robert Russell Bennett's original orchestrations and extended some of the dance sequences. were in the production. they convey the bleakness of the frontier. 2002. Anthony Ward's sets have a pastoral. The overture to the show was also altered. with direction by Nunn. The musical was also nominated for nine Drama Desk Awards.[41] 2002 Broadway revival[edit source | editbeta] The London production was repeated on Broadway at the George Gershwin Theatre on March 21. which is usually when it's dancing. Shuler Hensley as Jud Fry. Peter Polycarpou as Ali Hakim and Jimmy Johnston as Will Parker.[37] This production was filmed and issued on DVD. cast was selected. like Thomas Hart Benton's paintings. at the request of director Trevor Nunn. "Many a New Day" and "The Farmer and the Cowman" were all radically redesigned.[40] Music supervisor John Owen Edwards. Only two of the London cast. this resurrection of Rodgers and Hammerstein's epochal show is dewy with an adolescent lustiness. both carnal and naive. this one is stunning – at times. Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey and Shuler Hensley as Jud. including Best Revival of a Musical.S.a Musical. exuberant and confused. At other times. which insisted that American actors must be cast.[38][39] Eventually a U. A brand new Dream Ballet was composed for Susan Stroman's new choreography and the dances to "Kansas City". in which the sky seems to stretch into eternity. Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey." The review stated that "Anthony Ward's harmoniously curved set. Maureen Lipman as Aunt Eller. as well as being broadcast on U.[35] According to the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. which also featured Patrick Wilson as Curly and Andrea Martin as Aunt Eller. Ben Brantley wrote in The New York Times: "At its best. idyllic quality.

but their "average reader rating" was four stars. Oklahoma! was performed in Japan by the all-female Takarazuka Revue.[45] Other productions[edit source | editbeta] Discoveryland Oklahoma! is presented nightly except Sundays each summer at the Discoveryland amphitheater. and that golden haze is never quite bright enough. On a spare stage. The Times reviewer wrote: "This is a very stylised.[47] 2009 Chichester Theatre Festival In the summer of 2009. "Doyle uses shadow and silhouette to bring out the musical's nightmarish aspects but doesn't over-labour them.back to us in a way that makes it seem fresh and vital."[44] The production went on to tour nationally from 2003–2006. with Marti Webb as Aunt Eller and Mark Evans as Curly. British director John Doyle directed the musical at the Chichester Festival Theatre. no friend of intimate moments or quiet depth of emotion. There are enough sunny spots – no more so than in Act 2's rousing title song – to keep the tone evenly textured. "Confetti of rose petals stains the floor like drops of blood.[46] 2006 Japan In 2006."[48][49] It received mixed reviews. In 1993. and Hiromu Kiriya. like most of the papers. its reviewer writing that "A cold breeze blows through this beautiful mornin'. with one brilliant tippy-tappy-toed song after another and a nugget of darkness lodged in its sweet heart. gave the show three out of five stars and wrote that this is a "downbeat vision" and that "all told it's a somewhat disappointing show". Oklahoma."[50] The Guardian liked it the most. This revival starred Yuu Todoroki. Ai Shirosaki. an outdoor theatre near Tulsa.[51] A review in The Telegraph commented. stating that "it's a delight. decorated only with blue sheets."[43] However. Mary Rodgers (daughter of Richard Rodgers) and William Hammerstein (son of Oscar Hammerstein II) designated Discoveryland the "National Home of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!" The production debuted in 1977. USA Today gave the production a tepid assessment. The production was dark in concept and featured new orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick. and a nightmarish dream-dance sequence has Freudian overtones as Laurey's bridal gown becomes her shroud. overdrilled production."[49] 2010 UK tour The show toured England for nine months in 2010 in a new staging by Julian Woolford.[52] ."[48] Whats On Stage.

winning as Outstanding Resident Musical (tying with Shakespeare Theatre's Candide) and for choreography (Parker Esse). Shirley Jones (in her film debut)."[58] 1955 film adaptation[edit source | editbeta] Main article: Oklahoma! (1955 film) The 1955 film adaptation starred Gordon MacRae. Gloria Grahame.. and cast an African-American actor as Jud. demographics and the diverse population of the musical's 1906 Oklahoma territory setting. directed by Peter Rothstein and choreographed by Donald Byrd. but a question in their heart..C. Washington. 5th Avenue Theater The 5th Avenue Theatre's early 2012 production. in the newly renovated Arena Stage complex. D. and left with not so much a song in their head. 2010 at the Arena Stage to critical acclaim. included African-American dancers.[56] The production returned to the Arena Stage for a second run on July 8. who gets off scot free after a mock trial.. lusting violently after his white mistress who ends up murdered at the hands of a white man.[53] Artistic Director Molly Smith cast African-American actresses as Laurey and Aunt Eller to mirror both modern Washington. Seattle. Charlotte Greenwood. Some see a clear reference to lynching. And isn't that part of what theater is supposed to do?"[59] Another critic concluded that the casting choice is "simply distracting" and "forces an uncomfortable racial subtext onto underlying material that doesn't support the weight.[57] 2012. as in the Arena Stage production. 2011. likely indicates "some [historical] license taken when an African-American farmhand is allowed to escort a white woman to the box dance. DC Arena Stage Oklahoma! opened on October 23. Gene . they're seeing on stage one of the ugliest stereotypes in our history: an imposing black man ravaging a petite white woman [and] the white hero . all but urges Jud to hang himself – and even pantomimes the act. lead actor (Nicholas Rodriguez as Curly) and musical direction (George Fulginiti-Shakar)...2010 Washington."[59] The "Dream Ballet" in this production has a sinister and sexual tone and ends with Jud dragging Laurey away to be raped. . but it "has some audience members squirming in their seats ."[60] Another wrote: "Rothstein's Oklahoma! is now the story of a crazy. sex obsessed black man living in a shack out back. One critic noted that the casting choice..[61] Rod Steiger.[53][54] inaugurating the redesigned Fichandler "theater in the round" stage.[55] The production received ten 2011 Helen Hayes Award nominations in the resident division. to reflect the historical presence of African Americans in the Oklahoma territory. Maybe some people weren't ready for [the casting choice]. despite its purported rationale in greater historical accuracy.[58] This choice was intended.

prompting the label to call the cast back into the studio to record three additional selections that had been left out of the first set.S. All subsequent LP releases were similarly incomplete.[65] Recordings[edit source | editbeta] Most of the songs from Oklahoma! were released on a record album by Decca Records in 1943 containing six 10-inch double-sided discs in 78 RPM format. utilizing the original 78 album artwork. which became an essential part of a musical's dissemination and endurance in popular culture. and a soundtrack album of the 1955 film.[66] The success of the original Oklahoma! cast album set a precedent for the production of original cast recordings of Broadway musicals. the 1998 Royal National Theatre revival cast recording.[62] and Agnes de Mille choreographed. such as interpolating new songs by others.[62] In a nod to Green Grow the Lilacs.[63][64] Rodgers and Hammerstein personally oversaw the film to prevent the studio from making the changes that were then typical of stage-to-film musical adaptations. Decca re-released the first set on LP but not the second set. There have also been more than 20 studio cast . which soon became a very rare collectors' item. changing the locations of several of the songs. It was the only musical film directed by Fred Zinnemann.[63] The film won Academy Awards for Best Music. where Aunt Eller and other cowboys meet Will Parker just after he returns from Kansas City. the 1980 London revival cast recording. It sold over a million copies. The film followed the stage version more closely than any other Rodgers and Hammerstein stage-to-film adaptation. cast album featuring the original Broadway cast of a musical. Lyrics in the song about a burlesque stripteaser were slightly changed to pass film censorship.[67] Later cast recordings of Oklahoma! include the 1979 Broadway revival cast recording. which was the basis of the musical. James Whitmore and Eddie Albert. Kansas City is performed at the train station. It was the first U. It was the first feature film photographed in the Todd-AO 70 mm widescreen process. In 1949. Finally in 2000.Nelson. Scoring of a Musical Picture and Best Sound. The film omits only "It's a Scandal. For example. Recording. although it divided the long first scene into several shorter scenes. Jud attempts revenge on Curly and Laurey by burning a haystack they stand on. It's an Outrage" and "Lonely Room". landing on Jud and causing him to fall on his own knife. Decca Broadway went back to the original glass masters to generate a new high fidelity transfer of the complete song program and released it on CD. These were issued as Oklahoma! Volume Two. before Curly jumps down.

The "Out of My Dreams" and "All Er Nuthin'" dances are such supreme aesthetic delights... carried out to perfection by her ballet [corps]. And certainly not topical. Hart himself. Agnes de Mille has worked small miracles in devising original dances to fit the story and the tunes.. They are spinetingling. is actually the biggest hit of the show."[26] In the New York Daily News. And nobody in last night's audience seemed to have a better time than Mr. Oscar Hammerstein 2nd has written a dramatically imaginative libretto and a string of catchy lyrics. And tunely. Howard Barnes wrote. stating that "Richard Rodgers has written for the show one of the finest musical scores any musical play ever had. Rodgers. John Raitt and Florence Henderson in the leading roles. John Anderson of the New York Journal American pronounced the musical "a beautiful and delightful show. who applauded the proceedings from a seat in Row B. but the songs in Oklahoma! call for less sophisticated words. "Songs. Rodgers. as enchanting to the eye as Richard Rodgers's music is to the ear. Hammerstein has found very likeable ones. in good form indeed.. It has. however. must stand the amazing Agnes de Mille.. With the songs that Richard Rodgers has fitted to a collection of unusually atmospheric and intelligible lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein 2nd.[26] New York World-Telegram critic Burton Rascoe particularly emphasized the groundbreaking choreography."[26] Louis Kronenberger of PM opined that "Mr. He told Rodgers he had never had a better evening at the theater in . at a rough estimate."[26] In The New York Sun. and a story have been triumphantly blended."[26] Lorenz Hart himself "pushed his way through the crowd at the after-show party in Sardi's restaurant and threw his arms around his ex-partner. grinning from ear to ear. Next to Mr. Burns Mantle declared that "Oklahoma! really is different – beautifully different. whose choreography. The Richard Rodgers score is one of his best. fresh and imaginative. and Mr.[26] In the New York Herald Tribune. dances. Ward Morehouse commented that "Oklahoma! is charming and leisurely. shorn only for the moment of Larry Hart." as other shows had been in the early years of World War II. featuring stars such as Nelson Eddy. out of this world. and that is saying plenty. practically everything".[68] Reception[edit source | editbeta] The original production of Oklahoma! was an unprecedented critical and popular success. "It reveals Mr. Hammerstein's lyrics have less crispness and wit than Lorenz Hart's at their best.recordings of the show.. while Rouben Mamoulian has directed an excellent company with great taste and craftsmanship. Oklahoma! seems to me to be the most thoroughly and attractively American musical comedy since Edna Ferber's Show Boat".

"[26] Antecedents and influence[edit source | editbeta] According to playwright and theatre writer Thomas Hischak."[73] Even earlier." She concluded that the show was "very picturesque in a studied fashion. following Gilbert and Sullivan and French opéra bouffe. it is also the single most influential work in the American musical theatre. began the reintegration of song and story after decades of thinly plotted British and American musicals. with the songs "delving into character" and advancing the plot. reminding us that life on a farm is apt to become a little tiresome. within the limitations of musical comedy license. paving the way for Show Boat and Oklahoma! by showing that a musical could combine popular entertainment with continuity between its story and songs. stating that the score consisted of "a flock of Mr. "Not only is 'Oklahoma!' the most important of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. which featured modern American settings. the first American folk musical". Kern's exquisitely flowing melodies were employed to further the action or develop characterization.."[9] The only negative review of the musical appeared in the New York Post: The critic wrote that "it all seemed just a trifle too cute". . Show Boat "got there first on both counts. although Oklahoma! has been called "the first integrated musical.. The characters and situations were. character. the Princess Theatre musicals. without much variety in the presentation.. "built and polished the mold from which almost all later major musical comedies evolved.. It is the first fully integrated musical play and its blending of song.. .[72] Theater historian Ethan Mordden points out that. .. Rodgers's songs that are pleasant enough. The examples they set in creating vital plays. plot and even dance would serve as the model for Broadway shows for decades.[74] These Princess Theatre shows."[75][76] Mordden also notes that Oklahoma! was called the first great dance musical.."[69] William Zinsser observed that Oklahoma! broke the old "musical comedy conventions". but still manage to sound quite a bit alike .[70] The show "became a milestone.his life. but other musicals had earlier focused on .. often rich with social thought. believable and the humor came from the situations or the nature of the characters. so that later historians writing about important moments in twentieth-century theatre would begin to identify eras according to their relationship to Oklahoma!"[71] Oklahoma! made Rodgers and Hammerstein "the most important contributors to the musical-play form. provided the necessary encouragement for other gifted writers to create musical plays of their own".

dance. words and music entirely in the folk idiom."[73] Awards and nominations[edit source | editbeta] 1947 Theatre World Award • Dorothea MacFarland[77] 1980 Tony Awards • Best Leading Actress in a Musical – Christine Andreas (Nomination) • Best Featured Actor in a Musical – Harry Groener (Nomination) 1980 Drama Desk Awards • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical – Martin Vidnovic (Nomination) • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical – Harry Groener (Nomination) 1980 Theatre World Award • Theatre World Award – Harry Groener WINNER 1993 Tony Awards • Special Award in honor of the show's 50th anniversary year 1998 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards • Best Musical 1998 Evening Standard Award • Best Musical 1999 Olivier Awards • Outstanding Musical Production WINNER • Best Actor in a Musical – Hugh Jackman (Nomination) • Best Actress in a Musical – Josefina Gabrielle (Nomination) • Best Supporting Actor in a Musical – Jimmy Johnston (Nomination) • Best Supporting Actor in a Musical – Shuler Hensley (WINNER) • Best Director – Trevor Nunn (Nomination) • Best Set Designer – Anthony Ward (WINNER) • Best Lighting Designer – David Hersey (Nomination) • Best Theatre Choreographer – Susan Stroman (WINNER) 2002 Tony Awards • Best Revival of a Musical (Nomination) • Best Leading Actor in a Musical – Patrick Wilson (Nomination) • Best Featured Actor in a Musical – Shuler Hensley (WINNER) • Best Featured Actress in a Musical – Andrea Martin (Nomination) • Best Lighting Design – David Hersey (Nomination) • Best Choreography – Susan Stroman (Nomination) • Best Direction of a Musical – Trevor Nunn (Nomination) 2002 Drama Desk Awards • Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Nomination) . among them Gay Divorce and On Your Toes. He concludes: "But Oklahoma! was the first American musical with an ethnic sound.

• Outstanding Actor in a Musical – Patrick Wilson (Nomination) • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical – Justin Bohon (Nomination) • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical – Shuler Hensley (WINNER) • Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical – Andrea Martin (Nomination) • Outstanding Choreography – Susan Stroman (WINNER) • Outstanding Director of a Musical – Trevor Nunn (Nomination) • Outstanding Set Design of a Musical – Anthony Ward (Nomination) • Outstanding Lighting Design – David Hersey (Nomination) 2002 Theatre World Awards Theatre World Award – Justin Bohon WINNER<ref name="World Awards Recipients"/ .