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Press Release

May 13, 2019

Contact: Jennie Buchanan
Museum of the Western Prairie, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 580-482-1044

“Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Oklahoma!’: The Origin of Modern Musical Theatre” Traveling Exhibit at Museum of the Western Prairie

ALTUS, Okla. — The Museum of the Western Prairie will house the Oklahoma History Center’s traveling exhibit “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Oklahoma!’: The Origin of Modern Musical Theatre” from June 1 to July 31. The exhibit tells the story of the iconic musical “Oklahoma!” from its origins to the present.

More than 75 years after Rodgers and Hammerstein adapted Lynn Riggs’s play “Green Grow the Lilacs” into “Oklahoma!” the duo’s first collaboration remains one of their most celebrated productions. Often considered the first modern musical, “Oklahoma!” reshaped the Broadway landscape and gave the state of Oklahoma national recognition, pride and a song that continues to resonate worldwide.

When Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II signed on to write “Oklahoma!” in 1942, most of the theater world considered the project a gamble. Could a simple western musical reach a wide audience? Initially, the production had trouble finding investors and quickly was running out of money. Despite these problems, when Alfred Drake as Curly began to sing “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” from the theatre wings on March 31, 1943, the audience was hooked.

The Museum of the Western Prairie is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 1100 Memorial Drive in Altus. For more information, please call 580-482-1044.

The Museum of the Western Prairie is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.  


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