Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!


Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

Full-Length Musical, Comedy  /  4w, 6m plus ensemble

Music by Richard Rodgers
Book and 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 & Hammerstein's exuberant classic is a lively, tuneful musical full of cowboys, farmers, romance and fearless optimism.

Image: 2002 Broadway Production (Joan Marcus)

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    4w, 6m plus ensemble
  • Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Period, Docudrama/Historic, Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences
  • 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
    Winner! Two 2023 Olivier Awards, including Best Musical Revival



Rodgers & 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 colorful 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.

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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 & 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.

Act I

In the territory of Oklahoma, just after the turn of the century, Aunt Eller sits churning butter on the porch of her family’s farm. Curly, a handsome cowboy, comes to call (“Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’”). Aunt Eller knows he’s come to ask Laurey to the Box Social, even though he and Laurey are too proud to admit it. Laurey appears (“Laurey’s Entrance”), denying Curly’s goading assumption that she’d been listening to their conversation. She feigns disinterest as Curly describes the ride he’s arranged, should she accept his invitation (“The Surrey with the Fringe On Top”). Laurey calls his bluff. It appears Curly has made up such a surrey.

Will Parker stumbles in, having just won a steer-roping contest at the Kansas City Fair. The prize was $50 – just what Ado Annie’s father told her he’d need to marry her. Will shows off his new picture-peep toy, called “The Little Wonder,” to his homecoming crowd. Excitedly, he tells them all about his trip (“Kansas City”).

Will leaves to find Ado Annie as Curly returns. He asks Aunt Eller plain out: If it’s not him, whose affection does Laurey lean to? Jud Fry, the hired hand on the farm, appears and reveals that he asked Laurey to the Box Social. When Laurey doesn’t deny this, Curly confirms his date with Aunt Eller, revealing the surrey he’d described was hired for real after all. Curly leaves, bragging again about his hired ride (“The Surrey with the Fringe On Top” Reprise) while Laurey, stunned, hides her envy.

Once he’s gone, Laurey begs Aunt Eller not to go with Curly so she doesn’t have to ride alone with Jud. Laurey just didn’t want to give Curly the satisfaction of going with her. Eller brushes aside Laurey’s fears as Ado Annie and the peddler Ali Hakim arrive.

Aunt Eller has a bone to pick with the peddler about a past purchase. Laurey tells Ado Annie that Will is looking for her. Ado Annie wasn’t counting on Will being back so soon – the peddler is driving her to the Box Social. Laurey is tickled by Ado’s inability to choose between the two. She hates disappointing a beau when he’s paying a call (“I Cain’t Say No”).

Ado Annie interprets Ali Hakim’s offer to take her to “paradise” – an upstairs room at the hotel in Claremore – as a proposal of marriage, but his intentions are much simpler. Laurey’s concerns about making up her mind prompt Ali to sell her a bottle of Egyptian Smelling Salts said to have the ability to decide a difficult choice. Will unexpectedly arrives, announcing his return. Will tells Ado Annie about his $50 cash prize. Unfortunately, he spent it on gifts for her and no longer has the money to give her father.

Feeling rebuffed by Laurey, Curly takes up with Gertie Cummings, who flirts with him as the women prepare lunch baskets. Laurey declares her independence (“Many A New Day”).

Ado Annie tells Ali Hakim she has promised herself to Will Parker, and Ali is relieved. Ado Annie’s father, Andrew Carnes, enters with shotgun in hand, and learns that Will Parker spent the $50 needed to take Ado’s hand in marriage. He also hears about the “purty” talking Ali’s been giving his daughter and suggests to Ali, opportunistically with his gun, that it indeed does sound like a marriage proposal. Ado Annie leaves, excited to tell the girls about her engagement to the peddler, leaving Ali Hakim to vent his frustration (“It’s A Scandal! It’s A Outrage!”).

Curly is now taking Gertie Cummings to the Box Social, and when she leaves, he mentions to Laurey that everyone’s expecting him to take her instead. Playfully, they wonder how such outlandish rumors begin (“People Will Say We’re In Love”). Curly plainly asks if she wants to tell Jud she’d rather go with him, but Laurey says she can’t. Curly sets off to visit Jud to understand why.

In his smokehouse, Jud polishes his gun as Curly notices photos of naked women on his wall. Curly, noting a rope hanging from the shed’s wall, says, “You could hang yerself on that, Jud,” manipulating Jud into fantasizing about killing himself (“Pore Jud is Daid”). Jud warns Curly to stay away from Laurey, but Curly’s provocation spurs Jud into firing a warning shot. Calmly, Curly shoots a bullet straight through one of the roof’s knotholes just before Aunt Eller interrupts.

Ali tries to sell Jud more naked postcards, but Jud is interested in something else: “The Little Wonder,” a picture-peeping toy with a surprise blade that pops out from a spring, meant to stab the person you’re showing it to. Ali says he doesn’t handle dangerous items like that, and leaves Jud to fester and churn about living in what Curly referred to as “this lousy smokehouse” (“Lonely Room”).

Back on her porch, Laurey takes a whiff of smelling salts as her girlfriends surround her. She drifts off into a dream, and a ballet begins (“Dream Sequence: Out of My Dreams”). In the dream ballet, Laurey prepares for her wedding, but is shocked to see that the man she’s marrying is Jud. Curly enters and tries shooting at Jud who persists toward him, immune to the bullets. Jud then grabs Curly by the throat. Curly collapses and Jud carries Laurey away over his shoulder as she blows a kiss to Curly’s dead body.

Laurey suddenly wakens as Jud shakes her from her revery. It’s time to go to the Box Social. Curly, who had arrived unexpectedly, stands alone, defeated, watching Laurey and Jud leave together.

Act II

At the Box Social, the crowd is dancing, and Carnes begins to sing a song about the necessary bond between cowboys and farmers (“The Farmer and the Cowman”). Aunt Eller is elected auctioneer for the coveted lunch hampers; the men will bid on individual boxed meals prepared by the town’s women.

Will confronts Ali about his apparent engagement to Ado Annie and challenges the legitimacy of his love for her. Will knows his love for Ado is real because of all the gifts he bought her with the $50 he was supposed to use to win her father’s favor. Ali suggests he could buy some of the gifts back, to peddle, if Will was willing to sell them. Ali pays Will generous prices for each gift. Will, ignorant of the “Little Wonder’s” sinister utility, sells it to Jud, eventually making all $50 back.

The auction is now down to the final two hampers: Laurey’s and Ado Annie’s. Ali Hakim wins Ado’s basket after Will almost loses the $50 once more, leaving Will still eligible to marry Ado in the eyes of her father. Laurey’s basket is a popular lunch, but Jud keeps outbidding everyone by a few bits until Aunt Eller can’t wait for another bid any longer. Curly steps in and sells his saddle, horse and gun, outbidding Jud’s entire savings of two years: $42.31. Curly wins and Aunt Eller ends the auction abruptly.

Now that Will and Ado Annie are engaged, Will wants Ado Annie’s to stop having fun with other fellas. With some convincing, she agrees as best she can, and they share a kiss (“All Er Nuthin’ “).

Jud and Laurey are still dancing, but she is uncomfortable – he knows she doesn’t like him and regards him as a filthy hired hand. Growing angrier, Jud makes a vague threat and Laurey fires him on the spot. It’s her family’s farm, after all, and she has the right to hire and fire people. Jud storms off. Laurey sits, terrified, looking for Curly, who then appears. She can’t hide her desperation to be safe with him, the one she trusts and desires. Laurey explains her fear of Jud, and Curly promises to make it all right. They flirt, and he begs her to marry him. She says yes, and he elatedly declares his love for her (“People Will Say We’re In Love” Reprise).

Three weeks later, Laurey and Curly are married. The newlyweds and their friends all come out to the back of the house, cheering and celebrating (“Oklahoma”). Suddenly, Jud arrives uninvited and the celebrations pall. Jud claims he is there to give the groom a gift, but first he wants to kiss the bride. As Jud moves in to kiss Laurey, Curly pulls him back and Jud punches him. The fight continues until Jud pulls a knife on Curly. When Curly throws him, Jud lands on his own knife, groans, and lies still on the ground. The crowd tries to help, but Jud is dead.

The newlyweds are distraught. There’s nothing that can be done about Jud, but Cord Elam, a Federal Marshal, thinks Curly should turn himself into the judge that night, despite their train leaving town in 20 minutes. Aunt Eller suggests to Andrew, the judge, that they hold an informal court there. Cord Elam disagrees at first, but Andrew decides they can give Curly a fair trial without locking him up on his wedding night. Andrew, as the Judge, guides Curly into a self-defense plea. Cord Elam suggests he doesn’t feel right about this, but Aunt Eller and the wedding attendees, now witnesses for the court, support the Judge’s immediate verdict of not guilty. Everyone hurriedly gets the newly wedded couple into the surrey, waving them off to their honeymoon (Finale Ultimo: “Oklahoma”).

Full 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

3 Women
4 Men

1 Woman
2 Men

Large singing-dancing ensemble with numerous small roles

Aunt Eller (Range: D3-A4)
Curly (Range: Db3-F4 (opt. F#4))
Laurey (Range: D4-E5 (opt. A5))
Ike Skidmore (Range: D3-F4)
Fred (Range: E3-B3)
Will Parker (Range: Eb3-F4)
Jud Fry (Range: D3-C#4)
Ado Annie Carnes (Range: C4-E5 (opt. F5))
Ali Hakim
Gertie Cummings
Andrew Carnes (Range: E3-F4)
Cord Elam (Range: F#3-A3)

Note: 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.

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.

  • Time Period 1900-1910, Wild West
  • Setting The territory now called Oklahoma. Early 1900s.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Stage Combat
  • Duration More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • Gun Shots


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

★★★★★ “An absolute knockout!” – The Telegraph

★★★★ “A rip-snorting, chap-slapping, foot-stamping triumph!” – Evening Standard

“A masterpiece...Rodgers & 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 & 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


  • Oklahoma! – Through Time and History youtube thumbnail

    Oklahoma! – Through Time and History

  • “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” from Oklahoma! youtube thumbnail

    “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” from Oklahoma!

  • “All er Nothin’” from Oklahoma! youtube thumbnail

    “All er Nothin’” from Oklahoma!

  • “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” – Gordon MacRae youtube thumbnail

    “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” – Gordon MacRae

  • “I Cain't Say No” and “Oklahoma” – 2019 Tony Awards youtube thumbnail

    “I Cain't Say No” and “Oklahoma” – 2019 Tony Awards

  • “People Will Say We're In Love” – Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!  youtube thumbnail

    “People Will Say We're In Love” – Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

  • “Oklahoma” – Hugh Jackman youtube thumbnail

    “Oklahoma” – Hugh Jackman

Show more +


  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

    Image: 2022 Young Vic Production (Marc Brenner)

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

    Image: 2022 Young Vic Production (Marc Brenner)

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

    Image: 2019 Broadway Production (Little Fang)

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

    Image: 2019 Broadway Production (Little Fang)

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

    Image: 2002 Broadway Production (Joan Marcus)

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

    Image: 2002 Broadway Production (Joan Marcus)

Show more +


Music Samples

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 and 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

The full orchestration is a definitive edition of Robert Russell Bennett's original orchestration, updated during an R&H restoration project to incorporate changes and useful notes likely made in early productions. Thorough details about the restoration project are included below. Orchestrations for the Daniel Fish revival are not available.

1   Flute – doubling Piccolo
1   Oboe – doubling English Horn, Bass Oboe & Oboe d'amore. Bass Oboe and Oboe d'amore are double lined for English Horn
1   Bassoon – optional part
1   Clarinet 1
1   Clarinet 2 – doubling Bass Clarinet
1   Horn 1
1   Horn 2
1   Trumpet 1
1   Trumpet 2
1   Trumpet 3 – optional part
1   Trombone 1
1   Trombone 2 – optional part
1   Guitar – doubling Banjo
1   Harp 
1   Percussion – Trap Set (Snare, Tom Toms, Bass, Hi-Hat & Sus. Cym.), 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
2   Violin 1 – Divisi
2   Violin 2 – Divisi
2   Viola – Divisi
2   Cello – Divisi
1   Bass

1   String Synthesizer – intended to supplement a small string section (optional)

Additional Material: A Full Score is available for this title for an additional fee. Please contact your licensing representative for additional information.

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.
OPTIONAL PARTS NOTE: The optional parts were created by Robert Russell Bennett for the 1969 Lincoln Center Revival of Oklahoma!.

Our 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 an updated Piano-Conductor score, and (for the first time) a full orchestra score 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 1
Clarinet 2 (Doubling Bass Clarinet)
Bassoon (Optional)
Horn 1
Horn 2
Trumpet 1
Trumpet 2
Trumpet 3 (Optional)
Trombone 1
Trombone 2 (Optional)
Guitar (doubling Banjo)
Percussion (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)
Violin A (6 players)
Violin B (2 players)
Viola (2 players)
Cello (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, or our two piano arrangement. 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, R&H
January 2012
  • Musical Style Classic Broadway, Country/Western
  • Dance Requirements Difficult
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra Size X-Large
  • Chorus Size Large

Licensing & Materials

  • PLEASE BE ADVISED: There are multiple versions of this title. Before you proceed, please double-check to ensure that you are applying for the version you want. We will not be able to refund rental or shipping fees if you pay for the wrong version.

    If you’re not sure which version best suits your needs, you may purchase a perusal for each available version.



Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
20   Vocal Book
1   Piano-Conductor (rehearsal & stick conductor)

1   Flute – doubling Piccolo
1   Oboe – doubling English Horn, Bass Oboe & Oboe d'amore. Bass Oboe and Oboe d'amore are double lined for English Horn
1   Bassoon – optional part
1   Clarinet 1
1   Clarinet 2 – doubling Bass Clarinet
1   Horn 1
1   Horn 2
1   Trumpet 1
1   Trumpet 2
1   Trumpet 3 – optional part
1   Trombone 1
1   Trombone 2 – optional part
1   Guitar – doubling Banjo
1   Harp 
1   Percussion – Trap Set (Snare, Tom Toms, Bass, Hi-Hat & Sus. Cym.), 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
2   Violin 1 – Divisi
2   Violin 2 – Divisi
2   Viola – Divisi
2   Cello – Divisi
1   Bass

1   String Synthesizer – intended to supplement a small string section (optional)

Delivered Digitally:

Additional Material:
A Full Score is available for this title for an additional fee. Please contact your licensing representative for additional information.
Piano Only:  
20   Vocal Book
1   Piano-Conductor (rehearsal & performance)

Delivered Digitally:


Two-Piano Arrangement:
20   Vocal Book
1   Piano-Conductor (rehearsal)
2   Two-Piano Arrangement (Act 1)  (performance)
2   Two-Piano Arrangement (Act 2)  (performance)

Delivered Digitally:



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