Rodgers & Hammerstein’s first collaboration was groundbreaking. Oklahoma! was greeted by critics and audiences alike as a watershed – the first successful truly unified musical, in which all creative elements worked together to support the story. The Hamilton of its day, the show elevated the art form of musical theatre and kicked off a Golden Age of American musicals that … Read More
Curly and Laurey gather with friends and family to celebrate their marriage and Oklahoma’s pending statehood. During the creation of Oklahoma!, producer Theresa Helburn suggested Hammerstein write “a song about the earth.” The resulting song was so successful, it became the new title of the musical. “Oklahoma” draws an important parallel between two of the show’s central themes: the characters’ … Read More
Having secured the $50 he promised Ado Annie’s father for her hand in marriage, Will demands that Ado Annie commit to him, and only him. With characteristic frankness, Ado Annie responds as only she can.
At the box social, guests from all over the territory dance together, watched over carefully by Aunt Eller, who understands the need for everyone to get along. She stops the dancing to explain, “I won’t say I’m no better than anybody else, but I’ll be damned if I ain’t just as good!”
One of the most substantial progressions of the American musical theatre form was the addition of dance as a tool to further plot and character development. With choreography by Agnes de Mille, the Dream Ballet acts as a surreal exploration of the naïve Laurey’s inner life as she faces the decision of choosing between Curly and Jud.
In this wrenching soliloquy, Jud’s churning thoughts escalate with contempt for the society that has discarded him. Brutally dismissing Curly’s threatening ultimatum, Jud vows to pursue Laurey with even greater fervor.
Curly pays Jud a visit in his smokehouse and sings this wry, goading eulogy to belittle the menacing farmhand into taking his own life.
In this classic example of a Rodgers & Hammerstein “conditional love song,” Laurey and Curly continue their restrained, coded flirtation with a list of “don’ts” to keep people from thinking they should be together. When the song is reprised in the second act, once the two have finally admitted their love for one another, Hammerstein cleverly adjusts the lyric to … Read More
Trapped! Hoodwink’d! Hambushed! Ali Hakim finds himself between a rock and… the barrel of a gun held by Ado Annie’s father, Cord Elam. Frustrated but comically misguided, the traveling peddler lets out his frustration by anxiously calling for a men’s “revolution.”
After Laurey becomes annoyed by Curly and declines his invitation to the box social, Gertie Cummings plans to go instead. To show “how little she keers,” Laurey sings this anthem of feminine independence.