Oklahoma!

Oklahoma! is the first musical written by composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs’ 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs.

The original Broadway production opened at the St James Theatre on March 31, 1943. It was a box-office smash and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances, later enjoying award-winning revivals, national tours, foreign productions and an Academy Award-winning 1955 film adaptation. It has long been a popular choice for school and community productions.

The classic musical is the story of Laurey and the two rivals for her affections: Curly, a cowboy, and Jud, the hired farmhand. The play takes place in 1906 in an Indian territory of the American West during the time when Oklahoma was established as a state.

It tackles class issues between the farmers and the cowmen in the still-developing, rugged landscape of a state in its infancy as characters struggle to find hope, love and the fulfillment of “the American Dream.” It is also a romantic tale of love. Curly and Laurey both have feelings for each other but have difficulty expressing it because of their stubbornness. Just to spite Curly, Laurey accepts an invitation to the local dance from the evil Jud Fry. Eventually, Curly and Jud duel it out, with Jud ending up falling on his own knife and dying. Meanwhile, Will Parker has returned early from his trip to Kansas City. Unfortunately, his girlfriend, Ado Annie, just can’t seem to say no to other men. All turns out well in the end as both couples end up happily married.

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