1943 Original Broadway Production
To parallel the enormous success of Oklahoma!, for the very first time a recording company brought the theater orchestra and cast into the studio and performed the songs as they were heard in the theater, with the original orchestrations. Thus the concept of a Broadway cast album was born. There was, however, a strike happening, which prevented the album from being made until late October, seven months after the opening. Since Broadway provided the world of pop music with much of its repertoire, several of the songs were released by singers like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, including “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’” and “People Will Say We’re in Love.”
The prolonged delay in availability only added further intrigue to the unprecedented success of Oklahoma! With 60,000 advanced sales, the record hit stores on December 1st, a full nine months after the show had opened, making it the holiday gift of the season for households nationwide. In its first month, the Oklahoma! cast album sold an extraordinary 125,000 records. The album lacked three of the show’s numbers, including the Dream Ballet and “Lonely Room.” Still, the record set new precedents, industry standards and, most importantly, introduced an entirely new recording genre – the Broadway cast album. The following year, the cast was reassembled at a second recording session for a later-released two-disc version of the album, which included some of the material excluded from the first release.