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Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!: The Origin of Modern Musical Theatre exhibit opens
The Museum of the Western Prairie will host 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.