Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

A CONCORD THEATRICALS TITLE

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Agnes de Mille, Lynn Riggs

Full Length Musical, Comedy  /  4f, 6m

Music by Richard Rodgers / Book by Oscar Hammerstein II / Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II / Original Choreography by Agnes de Mille  / Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs

The groundbreaking musical that set the stage for all that followed! Rodgers and Hammerstein's exuberant classic is a lively, tuneful musical full of cowboys, farmers, romance and fearless optimism.

Photo: Little Fang

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!
License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

OVERVIEW

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    4f, 6m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Period, Docudrama/Historic, Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Appropriate for all audiences
Accolades
Accolades
  • Winner! 1944 Pulitzer Prize - Special Award
    Winner! Two 1956 Academy Awards, including Best Music
    Winner! 1993 Special Tony Award (50th Anniversary)
    Winner! Four 1999 Olivier Awards, including Outstanding Musical Production
    Nominee: Two 1980 Tony Awards
    Nominee: Eight 2002 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Musical
    Nominee: Seven 2002 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical
    Winner! Two 2019 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical
    Nominee: Eleven 2019 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Musical

Description

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first collaboration remains, in many ways, their most innovative, setting the standards and rules of modern musical theatre. In a Western territory just after the turn of the 20th century, a high-spirited rivalry between local farmers and cowboys provides a colourful background for Curly, a charming cowboy, and Laurey, a feisty farm girl, to play out their love story. Their romantic journey, as bumpy as a surrey ride down a country road, contrasts with the comic exploits of brazen Ado Annie and hapless Will Parker in a musical adventure embracing hope, determination and the promise of a new land.

History

Oklahoma! launched a new era in the American musical. It also began the most successful songwriting partnership in Broadway history.

Directed by Rouben Mamoulian and choreographed by a then-unknown ballet choreographer named Agnes de Mille, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical version of Green Grow the Lilacs, originally titled Away We Go!, made its world premiere at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut in March of 1943. Only a few changes were made on the road, but they were significant. One number, “Boys and Girls Like You and Me,” was cut, and a number about the land originally planned as a duet for Laurey and Curly instead became a showstopping chorale called “Oklahoma.” So successful was this number during the musical’s pre-Broadway engagement in Boston that the decision was made to add an exclamation point and make it the name of the show.

Oklahoma! opened at the St. James Theatre on Broadway on March 31, 1943. At that time, the longest-running show in Broadway history had run for three years. Oklahoma! surpassed that record by two more years, running for a marathon 2,212 performances. The US national tour played for an unprecedented ten and a half years, visiting every single state and playing before a combined audience of more than 10 million people. In 1947, Oklahoma! opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, where it ran for 1,548 performances, the longest run of any show up to that time in the 267-year history of the theatre. In 1953, the Oklahoma State Legislature named “Oklahoma” the official state song. In 1955, the motion picture version of Oklahoma!, starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones and produced by Rodgers and Hammerstein, was released to great success.

Oklahoma! returned to Broadway several times, most recently in a reconceived and critically acclaimed 2019 revival directed by Daniel Fish.

Keywords

Act I

On a radiant summer morning in a Western territory, Aunt Eller sits with her butter churn, peering out at the sunrise. Brash young cowboy Curly approaches the farm a-singin’ (“Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’”). Aunt Eller tells Curly if he weren’t so young she'd marry him and make him sing to her every night. Aunt Eller’s niece Laurey enters, surprised at the early arrival of a guest (“Laurey’s Entrance”). Laurey and Curly verbally spar, and Curly teases if she keeps it up he won’t ask her to the Box Social. He spins a wonderful vision of a fancy new buggy he’d take her out in (“The Surrey With the Fringe on Top”). Laurey, dubious of Curly's claims, chides him Curly, and he goes off, discouraged. Meanwhile, dimwitted but good-hearted Will Parker has returned from a trip to Kansas City. He won a competition for lassoing steer, earning $50- the amount Ado Annie’s father said he needed to have in order to marry her. Naturally, he spent all the money on presents for her, and tells the gang all about his adventures in the big city (“Kansas City”).

As the gang disperses, Aunt Eller tells Curley that her growly but excellent farmhand, Jud Fry, has had his eye on Laurey. Jud confronts Curly and reveals that he is taking Laurey to the Box Social. Deflated, Curly asks Aunt Eller to the Social (“The Surrey With the Fringe on Top” Reprise). Laurey tells Aunt Eller that she is nervous to go to the Social alone with Jud due to some disturbing behavior. Aunt Eller tells her to stop imagining things, and spots the Peddler, Ali Hakim, coming up to the farm with Ado Annie. While Aunt Eller goes to berate the Peddler about a faulty egg-beater, Laurey asks Ado Annie why she is with Ali Hakim when Will has come back from Kansas City. Ado Annie tells her that she is going to the Box Social with him, even though she’s only maybe-promised to Will Parker (“I Cain’t Say No”). When Ali and Aunt Eller return, Ali offers Laurey the Elixir of Egypt, a special kind of smelling salts that will help her in making a decision. But Laurey isn’t the only one with a decision to make; thinking Ali Hakim wants to marry her, Ado Annie has to choose between her Peddler and Will Parker, who comes to present her with her gifts from the big city. Later in the afternoon, some of the girls come over to prepare for the Social (“Entrance of Ensemble”). Laurey, noticing Curly has taken up with another girl, insists she doesn't care because there are plenty of men to choose from (“Many a New Day”).

Meanwhile, Ado Annie tells Ali she has decided to marry Will. Ali is relieved to be released from a commitment he doesn't want to make, but Ado Annie’s father threatens Ali with his shotgun and tells him he had better be proposing marriage. In fear for his life, Ali reluctantly agrees (“It’s a Scandal! It’s a Outrage!”). As Laurey packs up her hamper for the Social, Curly asks her one more time if she is really going to drive to the Social with Jud, seeing as everyone expects him to take her. She confirms that she's going with Jud, and, in a flirtatious manner, suggests this may be for the best (“People Will Say We’re in Love”). Rejected and frustrated, Curly goes down to Jud's smokehouse, where he spins a fantasy of how sad everyone would be at Jud's funeral (“Pore Jud is Daid”). Despite Curly's taunting, Jud insists he will take Laurey to the Box Social. Left alone in his smokehouse, Jud laments his situation and dreams of holding Laurey without her being afraid (“Lonely Room”).

Still reeling from her confrontation with Curly, Laurey decides to take the smelling salts so she can decide between Curly and Jud (“Out of My Dreams”). As she falls asleep, a dream ballet ensues (“Dream Sequence”). She sees herself happily dancing with Curly and falling in love. On their wedding day, she walks down the aisle, but to her horror, it’s Jud and not Curly to takes off her veil. As her nightmare continues, Laurey sees a fight between Curly and Jud, which ends in Curly’s death. Heartbroken, Laurey awakens to the voice of Jud telling her it’s time to go to the party. Warily, Laurey sets off with Jud.

Act II

We open at the Box Social where the dancers joyfully sing about the friendly rivalry between the cowboys and the farmers (“The Farmer and the Cowman”). After their dance, it is time to start the auction for the hampers (each hamper was made by an eligible girl. If you win the hamper you win a date with the girl). Ali Hakim meanwhile has found Will Parker and, trying to get out of his engagement, offers to buy $50 worth of gifts back from Will so he can marry Ado Annie. Jud also buys off of Will a tool called “The Little Wonder” which seems like something to look at pictures with, but contains a secret switch blade that can kill the observer. Newly invigorated, Will goes off to win Ado Annie’s hamper, but foolishly bids the $50 he just earned back. In order to, finally, be free of Ado Annie, Ali Hakim bids $51 for the hamper so Will can finally get permission from Ado Annie’s father. Up next is Laurey’s hamper, and soon a battle between Jud and Curly ensues, with each man giving up everything they have to win her hamper, and therefore, her love. Curly ends up winning, and Jud tries to get Curly to try out The Little Wonder, but Aunt Eller ends up saving him by chance.

Outside, Ado Annie and Will set the date for their wedding. But knowing everything that happened with Ali Hakim, Will tells Ado Annie that she has to stop flirting with other guys (“All Er Nuthin’”). She agrees. As Jud and Laurey make their way to the dancing, Jud confronts Laurey and asks her why she doesn’t want to be alone with him. She denies it, but Jud begins making threats and Laurey bans him from the farm. Curly finds Laurey in distress, and she tells him she’s afraid for her life. He comforts her, then, plants a gentle kiss on her lips. The two confess their love for each other, and Curly proposes marriage (“People Will Say We’re in Love" Reprise).

Some time passes, and members of the town scout the back of Laurey’s farmhouse to make sure Jud Fry has not returned. Sure that the coast is clear, the newly married Curly and Laurey come home to celebrate. The townspeople celebrate their wedding, remarking that they’ve picked a perfect time to start their new life in a soon-to-be state (“Oklahoma”). After they rejoice, Laurey leaves to go change so she and Curly can leave for their honeymoon. But as the couple reappears, ready to leave, Jud shows up claiming he has a present for the groom. Instead, Jud pulls out a knife and tries to kill Curly. In the chaos of the ensuing fight, Jud falls on his own knife and dies. Curly and Laurey are horrified. The Judge declares they can give Curly a fair trial right then and there; Curly is declared not guilty since he acted in self-defense. The couple is permitted to depart for their honeymoon, ready for their brand new life together (“Finale Ultimo”).

Considerations

Performing Groups
  • Jr High/Primary
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Youth/Camp Programs
  • Tours
  • Outdoor
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
  • Church / Religious Groups
Cautions
  • Gun Shots

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Specifics

Details

  • Time Period: 1900-1910, Wild West
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Additional Features: Stage Combat
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Setting:

Oklahoma! takes place in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) just after the turn of the century.

Specific Locations 
The Front of Laurey's Farmhouse
The Smoke House
A Grove on Laurey's Farm
The Skidmore Ranch
Skidmore's Kitchen Porch
The Back of Laurey's Farmhouse

Casting

4f, 6m
Cast Attributes
  • Ensemble cast
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
PRINCIPALS
3 Women
4 Men

FEATURED
1 Woman
2 Men

ENSEMBLE
Large singing-dancing ensemble with numerous small roles

CHARACTERS
Aunt Eller
Curly
Laurey
Ike Skidmore
Fred
Slim
Will Parker
Jud Fry
Ado Annie Carnes
Ali Hakim
Gertie Cummings
Ellen
Kate
Sylvie
Armina
Aggie
Andrew Carnes
Cord Elam
Jess
Chalmers
Mike
Joe
Sam
Casting Notes

In this show, the race of the characters is not pivotal to the plot. We encourage you to consider diversity and inclusion in your casting choices.

Music

  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway, Country/Western
  • Dance Requirements: Difficult
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Large
  • Chorus Size: Large
Act I

Overture - Orchestra
1. Opening Act I: "Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin'" - Curly
2. "Laurey's Entrance" - Laurey
3. "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top" - Curly, Laurey and Aunt Eller
4. "Kansas City" - Will, Aunt Eller and the Boys
5. "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top" (Reprise) - Curly
6. "I Cain't Say No!" - Ado Annie
7. "I Cain't Say No! Encore" - Ado Annie
8. "Entrance of Ensemble" - Will, Ado Annie, Ensemble
9. "Many A New Day" - Laurey and the Girls

10. "Many A New Day - Dance" - Orchestra
11. "It's A Scandal! It's A Outrage!"' - Ali Hakim, Boys and Girls
12. "People Will Say We're In Love" - Curly and Laurey

13. Change Of Scene - Orchestra
14. "Pore Jud Is Daid" - Curly and Jud
15. "Lonely Room" - Jud

16. "Change Of Scene" — Orchestra
17. "Dream Sequence" — Orchestra
17a. "Melos" — Orchestra
17b. "Out of My Dreams" — Laurey and Girls
17c. "Interlude to Ballet" — Orchestra
17d. "Dream Ballet" — Orchestra

Act II

18. "Entr'acte" - Orchestra
19. "Opening Act II: "The Farmer and The Cowman" - Carnes, Aunt Eller, Curly, Will, Ado Annie, Slim and Ensemble
20. Farmer Dance - Orchestra
21. Change Of Scene - Orchestra
22. "All Er Nothin'" - Ado Annie and Will
23. "Change Of Scene" - Orchestra
24. "People Will Say We're In Love (Reprise)" - Curly and Laurey
25. "Change Of Scene" - Orchestra
26. "Change Of Scene" - Orchestra
27. "Oklahoma" - Curly, Laurey, Aunt Eller, Ike, Fred and Ensemble
28. "Oklahoma - Encore" - Curly, Laurey, Aunt Eller, Ike, Fred and Ensemble

29. "Finale Ultimo" - Full Company
30. "Exit Music" — Orchestra

FLUTE (doubling PICCOLO)
OBOE (doubling ENGLISH HORN, BASS OBOE and OBOE D’AMORE)
[BASS OBOE and OBOE D’AMORE are double lined for ENGLISH HORN]
CLARINET I
CLARINET II (Doubling BASS CLARINET)
BASSOON (Optional)
HORN I
HORN II
TRUMPET I
TRUMPET II
TRUMPET III (Optional)
TROMBONE I
TROMBONE II (Optional)
HARP
GUITAR (doubling BANJO)
PERCUSSION Breakdown: Trap Set (Snare Drum, Tom Toms, Bass Drum, Hi-Hat and Suspended Cymbal), Oriental Drum (deep), 3 Timpani (25-26, 28-29, 32) Orchestra Bells, Xylophone, Vibraphone, Chimes (B Flat, E Flat), Wood Block, Temple Blocks, Pop Cork Gun (or similar), Slapstick (Whip), Cowbell and (optional) Tambourine
VIOLINS A (6 players)
VIOLINS B (4 players)
VIOLAS (2 players)
CELLOS (2 players)
BASS (1 or 2 players)

DIVISI NOTE: In the original Broadway pit of Oklahoma!, there were 6 players on Violin A, 4 players on Violin B, 2 Violists, 2 Cellists, and 2 Bass players.

BASSOON NOTE: The Bassoon was not used in the original Broadway pit, but was added later for the Lincoln Center Revival.


Our newly available restoration of Oklahoma! arrives on the heels of the restorations we’ve already released for Carousel, Allegro, South Pacific, The King and I, Pipe Dream and The Sound of Music. It took us this long to get to Oklahoma! for the simple reason that the performance materials for this show, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s first mega-hit, always seemed to be in pretty good shape. There was a beautifully copied set of instrumental parts and a comprehensive piano/vocal score. Except for an incorrectly transposed set of Clarinet parts for “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” (something we corrected a decade ago) and some disturbingly absent Harp parts, there seemed to be little need for a restoration of the performance materials for this classic and indomitable Rodgers & Hammerstein score – until we took a closer look.

What has existed for the performance materials for Oklahoma! for the last fifty years was a user-friendly set of instrumental parts and a libretto that almost never elicited questions or customer concerns. The orchestra parts, which were recopied in the late nineteen-sixties, and the published piano vocal score (edited by the estimable Dr. Albert Sirmay) provided a clear and competent presentation of the music. The performance libretto, based on an original stage manager’s script, presented (what we believed was) a precise guide to the dialogue and lyrics of the original Broadway production. But as we began to discuss Oklahoma! with the people who were there when it was created (first and foremost, Jay Blackton, the musical director of the original 1943 Broadway production and Gemze de Lappe, who both performed in the original production and assisted Agnes de Mille in several subsequent productions) we began to encounter conundrums. Why were so many of the Harp parts missing? Why were so many of the 2nd Violin parts simply playing along with the 1st Violins? Why did the articulations between the woodwinds and the brass and the strings so often disagree? The more time we spent delving through the materials, the more questions we began to ask ourselves.

For most of the R&H canon we are blessed to have in our archive so many of the original performance materials: early scripts, later scripts, stage managers’ scripts, scenic designs, original orchestra parts – a clear documentation of a show as it moved from its out of town try out to its Broadway run and onto its first national tour. These defining documents, along with Robert Russell Bennett’s (or, in the case of Carousel, Don Walker’s) manuscript full orchestra scores) made it possible of us to carefully pinpoint what was played and performed on the opening night on Broadway. However, Oklahoma! did not offer us this abundance of background sources. With our goal of creating an urtext edition, all we had to work with were a beautifully copied set of instrumental parts (provenance unknown), a libretto that had withstood the test of seven decades, and Robert Russell Bennett’s full orchestra scores. These provided us some, but not all, of the information we needed.

The problem with using an orchestrator’s full orchestra scores as a source for a definitive set of orchestral parts is that there are changes made to a show’s orchestrations from the very first rehearsal in which the orchestra is involved. Cuts are made. Instrumental ensembles are thinned or enriched to make sure a particular singer may be better heard (especially in those pre-microphone days) or supported. And articulations and dynamics are constantly being altered as a show makes its way through its try-out period and on to Broadway. (Often the alterations will continue even after the show has opened on Broadway, due to cast changes, acoustical accommodations, and refinements that the creative team begins to ask for once the show has settled into its run.) So full orchestra scores, even though they give us the orchestrator’s original intentions, cannot tell us what was actually being played once the show opened.

For much of the R&H catalog, we have the originally played pit parts in our archive. We can see exactly what was altered as the show moved through its tryout period and during its Broadway run. All of the changes of dynamics and tempos, the cuts and the alterations to the orchestration itself can be seen in the pencil markings written into the parts by the original and players. (These markings are not always reliable. A player may make a certain marking that in a subsequent performance is changed, and he or she may simply make the mental note and not erase what was previously scribbled on the page.)

The licensed libretto for Oklahoma! (as are most of the performance libretti for R&H shows) was based on a stage manager’s script. This would seem to be a reliable source. But it turns out that in some cases, the stage manager’s guide that served as a template for the licensed performance libretto was not the Broadway stage manager’s guide, but a guide that came from the London or other subsequent productions. Changes had been made to accommodate actors and singers as well as the scenic demands of a theatre other than the St. James Theatre in New York City, where the original production played. Luckily, we had Gemze de Lappe to come to our aid.

Gemze, who joined the original Broadway production in 1946, went on to perform in several other productions, sometimes assisting Agnes de Mille and sometimes taking over the role of reproducing the entire original production (as she did for John Mauceri’s recent reconstruction of the original Broadway production at the North Carolina School of the Arts.) Gemze sat with us for many sessions, carefully going over each line and stage direction and giving us invaluable insight into Rouben Mamoulian’s (the director of the original Broadway production) and Agnes de Mille’s (the choreographer of the original production) intentions. Dialogue that, over the years, had lazily departed from Hammerstein’s original script and comic bits that had been excised in later productions were all put back in place. Gemze also expanded the choreographic and character detailing. The purpose for this was not to confine future productions to a straitjacket of the original production but to emphasize the attention to detail that was paid in the first production and to encourage this kind of careful attention in any and all future productions of Oklahoma!

The restoration of the musical score was trickier. Rodgers and Bennett have been gone for years. Trude Rittmann, who had functioned as musical arranger for almost all of the R&H shows from CAROUSEL on, had not yet become a part of the R&H team when Oklahoma! was being created. (She did, however, participate in the 1955 film adaptation.) All we had to go on were the copied set of instrumental parts that have been licensed since the nineteen-sixties, the published piano/vocal score and Robert Russell Bennett’s full orchestra scores. Whereas most of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals in our archive include original pit parts, sketches and miscellaneous musical materials, we had none of this for Oklahoma! It seems that, once the orchestra parts had been recopied in the nineteen-sixties, everything else (except the published piano/vocal score) was abandoned. Probably these earlier materials were deemed no longer necessary and were tossed. What we ended up with were a single set of orchestra parts that, the longer we studied them, brought us more questions than they did answers, and Robert Russell Bennett’s orchestra scores, which gave us some of, but not enough of the answers we needed.

The piano/vocal score was in pretty good shape. In Dr. Albert Sirmay’s style it was written not so much to reflect the orchestral arrangements of the original production but to be playable by most any pianist who had $6.00 (Yes, $6.00!) to purchase the complete piano/vocal score. Sirmay was always careful to include the melody in the right hand of the piano part, even when this did not reflect what the orchestra was actually playing. Therefore, even though the published piano/vocal score provides the reader with a lovely tour though Rodgers’ melodic and harmonically thrilling musical score, it doesn’t tell us much about what was actually going on in the orchestral accompaniment.

In the new piano/conductor score (masterfully prepared by Wayne Blood, R&H’s Manager of Musical Preparation, for this restoration) you will find that a good deal of the piano part has been rethought. But it provides the conductor and the rehearsal pianist with information that is absolutely true to the orchestration. There is not a dedicated piano part in the orchestration of Oklahoma!, but this new piano/conductor score will not get in the way of the orchestration should you feel the need to add a pianist to your Oklahoma! orchestra.

Restoring the orchestra parts of Oklahoma! was a revelation. First and foremost, the articulations and dynamics in the earlier licensed material were at odds with each other in almost every song. Take, for instance, the triplet of notes that Rodgers wrote to accompany the words “many a new” in “Many a New Day.” When we looked at the instrumental parts that have been available for the last seventy years, we could see that none of the articulations were consistent. In some parts each of the three notes were marked with staccato markings. In other parts these three notes were covered with a slur (a smooth connection of the three notes that does not separate them.) And in yet other parts these notes were covered with staccato markings AND a slur. We were lucky enough to deduce early on that the 1st Violin part was carefully edited from first measure to last, and we used this, as well as a preponderance of other information, to make the decision to go to with the slur. What stumped us is that Robert Russell Bennett made no articulate provision for these three notes in his manuscript full scores.

So, even though we made a specific decision, based on the best and the most information that was available to us, we leave it to you, in your production, to make the call on how this triplet should be played. Yes, you can listen to the 1943 original cast recording and to the 1955 motion picture recording, but the conundrum remains. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of personal taste.

Robert Russell Bennett’s original Broadway orchestration for Oklahoma! called for an orchestra of twenty eight players: four woodwinds, five brass, a harp, a guitarist (doubling banjo), a percussionist (playing a trap set, tom-tom, timpani, bells, xylophone, vibraphone, chimes, wood blocks and temple blocks) and ten (yes, TEN!) violins, two violas, two cellos and two basses (cut back to one bass as the original Broadway production ran its incredible 2,212 performances).

In 1969, Rodgers asked Bennett to increase the size of the orchestration for an upcoming revival of Oklahoma! at New York’s State Theatre in Lincoln Center. Bennett could allow for increasing of the string section without having to rewrite the string parts. (He always had in mind a much larger string section than the pits of most Broadway theatres could provide and devised his string voicings accordingly.) But he wrote a new three-line partitur for the complete score of Oklahoma!, adding a Bassoon, a 3rd Trumpet and a 2nd Trombone. It seems the Bassoon part was soon added to the standard issue for the woodwind section, but the 3rd Trumpet and 2nd Trombone have been unavailable until this new restoration.

Bennett’s original woodwind section for Oklahoma! consisted of four players: 1 Flute (doubling Piccolo the Piccolo only playing in “The Farmer and the Cowman”), 1 Oboe (doubling English Horn, Bass Oboe and Oboe d’Amore), Clarinet I and Clarinet II (doubling Bass Clarinet.) In the wake of the Lincoln Center production the Bassoon (now the 5th woodwind) was added to the original instrumentation, and the Bass Oboe, Oboe d’Amore and Bass Clarinet doubles were removed from the orchestration. In our restoration of Oklahoma! we are offering both options.

If you choose to perform the four-player woodwind version of the orchestration as it was first conceived, it has been restored to its original format. However, we have double lined the Bass Oboe and Oboe d’Amore parts to be played by English Horn should these harder to find instrumental doubles prove hard to come by. The (optional) Bassoon part may or may not be needed, depending on how you are choosing to cover the original four woodwind configuration.

Along with the (optional) Bassoon part we are also offering the (optional) 3rd Trumpet and (optional) 2nd Trombone part in our new restoration. All three of these options are included in the full orchestra score (partitur) for Oklahoma!, which is now for the first time available for rental.

We next discovered 2nd Violin parts that were merely playing along with the 1st Violins. It’s hard to believe that for the past half century “People Will Say We’re In Love” has been performed without the 2nd Violin part and no one seemed to notice. (I promise you that you will notice its return.)

And (a Eureka! moment) all of those missing Harp parts were discovered in Bennett’s full scores! What he gave the harpist to do in “The Surrey With The Fringe On Top” will confirm for anyone who reads it Bennett’s genius in setting not only music but lyrics, as well as his ability to provide emotional resonance.

Our new restoration of Oklahoma! includes, along with the newly edited libretto and vocal parts (our libretto/vocal combine), an updated piano/conductor score, and (for the first time) a full orchestra score (partitur) as well as the following orchestral parts:

FLUTE (doubling PICCOLO)
OBOE (doubling ENGLISH HORN, BASS OBOE and OBOE D’AMORE)
[BASS OBOE and OBOE D’AMORE are double lined for ENGLISH HORN]
CLARINET I
CLARINET II (Doubling BASS CLARINET)
BASSOON (Optional)
HORN I
HORN II
TRUMPET I
TRUMPET II
TRUMPET III (Optional)
TROMBONE I
TROMBONE II (Optional)
HARP
GUITAR (doubling BANJO)
PERCUSSION Breakdown: Trap Set (Snare Drum, Tom Toms, Bass Drum, Hi-Hat and Suspended Cymbal), Oriental Drum (deep), 3 Timpani (25-26, 28-29, 32) Orchestra Bells, Xylophone, Vibraphone, Chimes (B Flat, E Flat), Wood Block, Temple Blocks, Pop Cork Gun (or similar), Slapstick (Whip), Cowbell and (optional) Tambourine
VIOLINS A (6 players)
VIOLINS B (4 players)
VIOLAS (2 players)
CELLOS (2 players)
BASS (1 or 2 players)

No need to worry if you haven’t got those ten violins. Bennett always wrote his larger orchestrations with a dictum he called “Fifteen and Drums.” What he meant by this was that no matter the size of the instrumentation, all bases could be covered satisfactorily with five reeds (flute, oboe, two clarinets and bassoon), five brass (two horns, two trumpets and trombone), five strings (two violins, a viola, a cello and a bass) and rhythm. In the case of Oklahoma! this being percussion, harp and guitar.

Need I add that the score of Oklahoma! is one of the great (greatest!) joys of the musical theatre, whether accompanied by a full orchestra, a solo piano, our two piano arrangement or with Realtime Music Solutions, our synth option allowing you to create a full orchestral sound no matter how few instruments are available to you. Please feel free to check in with us with any further questions you might have.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Bruce Pomahac
Director of Music
Rodgers & Hammerstein
January 2012

Materials

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:
20 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor
1 Flute
1 Oboe
1 Bassoon
1 Clarinet 1
1 Clarinet 2
1 Horn 1
1 Horn 2
1 Trumpet 1
1 Trumpet 2
1 Trumpet 3
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
1 Violin 1
1 Violin 2
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass
1 Percussion
1 Guitar
1 Harp 
1 String Synth (optional)
1 Logo Pack 

Piano Only:

20 Libretto-Vocal Book 
1 Piano-Conductor
1 Logo Pack


A full score is available for this title for an additional fee. Please contact your licensing representative for additional information.

Media

Press

“One of the landmarks of 20th century theatre...a defining event of American culture.” – Houston Chronicle

“A masterpiece...Rodgers and Hammerstein are truly up there with Eugene O'Neill as the great American theatre creators.” – New York Post

“If ever a show earned its exclamation point, it's this one!” – Wall Street Journal

“There's nothing corny about this wonderful, fresh show. It's not just a classic American musical but—and this is the real surprise—a truthful, touching and gripping drama about growing up and falling in love, about dreams and nightmares.” – London Daily Mail

“Forget baseball, hot dogs and apple pie. Nothing is more American than Oklahoma!...One of the landmarks of 20th century theatre, it remains a defining event of American culture.” – Houston Chronicle

“Calling Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! a classic American musical is an understatement. Like Grant Wood's 'American Gothic' and Mark Twain's novels, or George Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue' and Chuck Berry's rock 'n' roll, Oklahoma! is firmly embedded in the canon of America's greatest cultural creations.” – Wichita Eagle

Music Samples

Videos

  • Oklahoma! Through Time and History

  • The Cast Of Oklahoma! Performs "I Cain't Say No/ Oklahoma" At The 2019 Tony Awards

  • Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' | Gordon MacRae | Rodgers

  • People Will Say We're In Love | Rodgers

  • Oklahoma! Title Song (Hugh Jackman)

More videos +

Photos

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

    Credit: Little Fang

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

    Credit: Little Fang

More

Authors

Richard Rodgers

Richard Rodgers' contribution to the musical theatre of his day was extraordinary, and his influence on the musical theatre of today and tomorrow is legendary. His career spanned more than six decades, his hits ranging from the silver screens of Hollywood to the bright lights of Broadway, London an ...

View full profile

Oscar Hammerstein II

Oscar Hammerstein II was born on July 12, 1895 in New York City. His father, William, was a theatre manager and for many years director of Hammerstein's Victoria, the most popular vaudeville theatre of its day. His uncle, Arthur Hammerstein, was a successful Broadway producer and his grandfather, Oscar Hammerstein, ...

View full profile

Agnes de Mille

Although Agnes de Mille seemed destined to perform on Broadway, since her paternal grandfather, father, and uncle, Cecil B. de Mille, were all successful writers and actors involved in the theater, she avoided the easy path to Great White Way. Instead, she struggled in obscurity and poverty, courageously pursuing a ...

View full profile

Lynn Riggs

Lynn Riggs was the author of Green Grow the Lilacs, originally produced by the Theatre Guild in 1931 and later used by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II as the basis for their musical Oklahoma!. The original play had a New York run of 64 performances, while its musical adaptation ha ...

View full profile

Now Playing

Community Experiences