- The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical about cowboys andfarmers in the American West, first staged by the Theatre Guildin 1943. It received rave reviews and ran for 2212 performances; the1947 London production at Drury Lane lasted for 1543 performances.Together with Annie Get Your Gun, which opened a few weekslater, Oklahoma! changed the face of the stage musical by blendingmusic, dance, and story as never before. It was also the first musicalfor which an original cast album was recorded. There were notableBroadway revivals in 1979 and 2002.
Oklahoma!, originally to be called Away We Go!, was based on Lynn Rigg's play Green Grow the Rushes.When the musical played in New Haven, Connecticut, before its Broadwayopening, one local critic dismissed it with the comment "nolegs, no jokes, no chance". Following its New York success,Hammerstein took out a self-congratulatory ad in Variety announcing"I've done it before and I can do it again!" which, ratherthan mentioning Oklahoma!, listed his many earlier flops.
The plot concerns Curly, a cowboy, who loves Laurey, a farmer'sdaughter. Curly has a dangerous rival, however, in Jud Fry, the hiredhand. Jud dies on his own knife in the final fight and the couple, whoare just married, ride off together. The songs include 'Oklahoma!', 'Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'', and 'People Will Say We're in Love.'