Oklahoma! is an American musical by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers, the first of several music written by this famous team. Its music is the work of Richard Rodgers as a composer and its lyrics are the work of Oscar Hammerstein II as a librettist. It is based upon and inspired by Green Grow the Lilacs, a play by Lynn Riggs that debuted in 1931 with its story taking place in Oklahoma near the town of Claremore in 1906. Its book is also written by Oscar Hammerstein II and it premiered on Broadway in 1943 followed by a 1947 premiere on London’s West End. Since then, it has a number of production including three Broadway revivals and two West End revivals. It has also been converted into a film that many who saw the music through Oklahoma! tickets also enjoyed. It is an award winning musical, having won many awards including the coveted Tony Award.
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Oklahoma! the musical follows the story of Curly McLain a cowboy and Laurey Williams, a farm girl, particularly the romantic relationship between the two. Amidst this story is also another cowboy and his fiancée, whose romantic relationship also crosses paths with the first one. It is set at the beginning of the twentieth century and is a musical that has been reviewed as having one of the most compelling stories ever. Its premiere on Broadway in the forties was a box office hit that ran for over two thousand and two hundred performances, winning awards and being adapted into a movie that won an Academy Award. It is also one of the most popular productions for schools and communities today and has been revived both on West End and Broadway a number of times over the course of many years.
Oklahoma! is also a musical that is historical in that it was one of the first book musicals of its time, building on the innovative Show Boat musical that came before it. It featured a strong connection between the story and the music as well as an amazing dream ballet that is used to describe the romantic relationship. It isn’t just Tony Awards and Academy Awards that this musical has won but also a Pulitzer Prize awarded to the two creators of this musical for their work, a mind blowing achievement for a musical. Both had had many earlier successes in the world of music with Richard Rodgers even winning an Academy Award for his song in the movie Lady Be Good. The musical came about when Lynn Riggs approached Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II on adapting her play into a musical with square dances and folk songs.
Oklahoma! the musical then premiered at the St. James Theatre and featured Alfred Drake and Joan Roberts as the actors playing the two main characters. The original premiere of the musical on West End took place at the Theatre Royal located on Drury Lane. In 1951, a revival took place on Broadway at The Broadway Theatre and also at the New York City Center Theatre. In 1979, another revival on Broadway was staged, this time being played at the Palace Theatre. A year later, the first West End revival was staged at the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester and in 1998 another West End revival took place this time at the Olivier Theatre located in London. In 2002, another Broadway revival was staged at the George Gershwin Theatre and it ran for over three hundred performances and starred Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey. This performance received rave reviews by The New York Times and The New York Daily News.
Oklahoma! is an award winning musical. It has won three Theatre World Awards, ten Tony Award nominations, two Tony Awards, eleven Drama Desk Award nominations, two Drama Desk Awards, one Critics Circle Theatre Award, one Evening Standard Award, nine Olivier Award nominations and four Olivier Award nominations. It’s movie also won an Academy Award and one of its creators is an Academy Award winner; a musical to be seen live through Oklahoma! tickets.
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