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Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

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Mr. Nowack
Broadway Legend
joined:2/2/14
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/2/14
Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!#1
Posted: 3/30/18 at 2:51pm

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

It opened 75 years ago this week, on March 31, 1943 at the St. James Theatre.

Whether you think it's an innovative piece that represents the genesis of the "musical play," or just a corny show bolstered by Wartime nostalgia, it remains a classic in the American Musical repertoire. Even if the material doesn't quite stand up to much of the acclaim its garnered, few can deny the impact it had on the creation of musicals during the 1940's and 50's, as well as marking the partnership of two Broadway legends even at that point. It also sparked the trend of recording cast albums in America, although claims that it was the first are also exaggerated.

Any fond memories? I have actually never seen it onstage.

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!

Keeping BroadwayWorld Illustrated
Updated On: 3/30/18 at 02:51 PM
JohnyBroadway
Broadway Legend
joined:4/10/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/10/12
Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!#2
Posted: 3/30/18 at 3:11pm
Speaking of Oklahoma, next month at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR will present the first ever LGBTQ adaptation of the show. Directed by Bill Rauch, the show has been creatively constructed to include gay and trans characters along with same sex relationships. The festival is known for taking risks, and I can’t wait to see what they do. I have my tickets for June.
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Cat Guy
Leading Actor
joined:3/17/17
Leading Actor
joined:
3/17/17
Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!#3
Posted: 3/30/18 at 4:03pm

I have not seen it on stage, but I have a very vivid memory of seeing the film version when it was released in 1955.  I was nine, and my parents dropped my best friend (David) and I off at the theater to see it.  I had such a boy crush on David.  We were so excited.  I think this was probably our first introduction to "Broadway" music.  Later, I remember climbing a fruit tree in our backyard with David, singing the title song at the top of our lungs.  David moved away a year later.  Wherever he is, I hope he has had a happy life.

I watched the movie again recently.  More than six decades later, I still enjoy it very much.

Jarethan
Broadway Legend
joined:2/10/11
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/10/11
Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!#4
Posted: 3/30/18 at 5:27pm

I have seen this show three times and positively hate it.  I am pretty sure that at least 20 years transpired between each viewing and I thought 'maybe Id like this production'.  I acknowledge that there are some great songs, but the book is IMO atrocious...may just be that it is painfully dated.  The Ado Annie / Will Parker / Ali Hakim sub-plot is to me embarrassingly bad.  Also, and I know this is a minority opinion, I have never liked the Agnes DeMille choreography.  I have to admit that I don't seem to like any Agnes DeMille choreography.  Subscribing to ABT years ago, you'd find Rodeo, Billy the Kid, Fall River Legend and a few others whose names I can't remember on the programs constantly, despite pretty consistent tepid audience response.  I just didn't enjoy them.  I guess they were just too old fashioned for me.

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noradesmond
Featured Actor
joined:10/29/08
Featured Actor
joined:
10/29/08
Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!#5
Posted: 3/30/18 at 7:03pm

I have seen the movie numerous times and onstage 3 times: one amateur high school production and two professional productions. Once with John Raitt (who was too old) and again a decade or two later with John Schneider touring in the 80s-ish revival. The latter was a gem of a production and one of my favorite theater-going experiences. Yes, it’s corny and it’s supposed to be. It has a great score and with fully integrated songs and dance, represents the birth of the modern American Musical Play. It’s hard for me to understand the dislike but everyone to their own taste, I guess.

Updated On: 3/30/18 at 07:03 PM
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markypoo
Broadway Star
joined:9/16/05
Broadway Star
joined:
9/16/05
Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!#6
Posted: 3/30/18 at 8:34pm
I saw the pre-B'way tour of the 1979 production, as well as the 2004 non-Equity tour of the 2002 revival.
I enjoyed both immensely, and am ready for more.
As well as a rewatching of the movie.
jo
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/15/03
Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!#7
Posted: 3/30/18 at 9:16pm

I had never seen a live stage version of the major Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals at that time, although I had already been a great fan of the movie musical versions -- South Pacific, Sound of Music, Carousel, King and I...except maybe the first one ( Oklahoma!) which I thought was a little boring...Eighteen years ago, I was in London for a business trip and found out that a stage version of OKLAHOMA! was being revived there. I thought it would be a good chance to finally se a live R&H musical. I got a seat on the front row of Dress Circle, which was fine but I could hardly make out the faces of the cast...although the stage presence of some of the actors seemed very strong.

Wow, with the first song OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING -- hey, this might not be so boring after all!  I did not know the leads nor did I find the sets that eye-catching. it was the singing that impressed me as the play went on.  Awesome Curly ( with powerful lungs) but I did not know who he was ... Aunt Eller was equally impressive.  That much I could gather from their stage presence tand the song/dialog delivery  (it wan't until I had eventually seen the filmed version on video that I could also see how impressive the acting was...and the work of the other cast members).

Now everyone knows that it was Hugh Jackman's calling card to international audiences!

And that it was Trevor Nunn's foresight ( in filming the stage version, not as performed live, but on a sound stage) which has allowed audiences of today to view that landmark revival of this landmark American musical!

Happy Anniversary to OKLAHOMA! on its 75th year!


 PS:  I eventually saw stage revivals of South Pacific( Lincoln Center) and King and I ( London) .

 

 

Updated On: 3/31/18 at 09:16 PM
goodlead
Stand-by
joined:3/30/18
Stand-by
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Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!#8
Posted: 3/30/18 at 9:33pm

I sided with those who didn't care much for the book (the score, of course, is incomparable) until I saw the production by the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (available on DVD and also, I think, on YouTube).  It duplicates the costumes, sets, and choreography of the original production and in addition is beautifully acted, sung, and danced.  Even the Ali Hakim-Ado Annie scenes, as badly as they read, turned out to be funny.  If you don't care for the show, I urge you to check out this production.  It may (and probably will) change your mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jarethan
Broadway Legend
joined:2/10/11
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/10/11
Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!#9
Posted: 3/31/18 at 6:40pm

I do not understand why Oklahoma, and not Show Boat, is considered the birth of the modern musical.  It makes no sense to me, but I must admit that I love Show Boat, so I have a bias.

jo
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
Broadway Legend
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5/15/03
Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!#10
Posted: 3/31/18 at 10:40pm

 

Cesare2
Stand-by
joined:2/13/15
Stand-by
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2/13/15
Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!#11
Posted: 4/1/18 at 6:41am

From yesterday's NYT re OKLAHOMA!:

The show was a huge cultural phenomenon that resonated with home-front America in the midst of World War II. The story may have been set in turn-of-the century Indian Territory on the verge of statehood, but its subtext was the determination it had taken to tame the frontier — and by implication the courage it would take to defeat fascism in Germany and Japan. When the characters sang the joyous title song, with its proud anticipation of a “brand-new state!” audiences heard the promise of a brand-new world, one in which the citizens of the newly created United Nations might actually behave and “act like brothers,” in the words of “The Farmer and the Cowman.”

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Dancingthrulife2
Broadway Legend
joined:10/28/15
Broadway Legend
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10/28/15
Happy 75th Anniversary to OKLAHOMA!#12
Posted: 4/1/18 at 7:25am

Jarethan said: "I do not understand why Oklahoma, and not Show Boat, is considered the birth of the modern musical. Itmakes no sense to me, but I must admit that I love Show Boat, so I have a bias."

I think Oklahoma is considered the birth of musical comedies, not musical plays, although I think No, No, Nanette should claim the title.