Getting To Know... Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!


Getting To Know... Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

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

Short Musical, Comedy  /  4f, 5m

Music by Rodgers, Richard / Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II / Original Dances by Agnes de Mille / 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

Getting To Know... Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!
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Getting To Know... Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!


  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    4f, 5m
  • Duration
    60 minutes (1 hour)
  • SubGenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Period, Docudrama/Historic, Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Appropriate for all audiences
  • Winner! 1944 Pulitzer Prize
    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

Getting To Know... Oklahoma! is part of the Getting To Know... series: musicals adapted specifically for youth performers.

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.

In this adaptation for students, the content has been edited to better suit younger attention spans, but all the elements that make this show a classic remain. You and your students will be enchanted by the timeless story and the dazzling score, while at the same time learning about theater and its production.


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. On 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 became instead 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.



Performing Groups
  • Elementary School / Primary
  • High School/Secondary

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



  • Time Period: 1900-1910, Wild West
  • Duration: 60 minutes (1 hour)
  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


Getting to Know... Oklahoma! takes place in the Western Indian Territory, soon to become the state of Oklahoma, in the early 1900s.

Specific Locations 
The Front Yard of Laurey's Farmhouse
The Smokehouse
A Grove on Laurey's Farm
The Skidmore Ranch


4f, 5m
Cast Attributes
  • Roles for Teens
  • Roles for Children
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
3 Women (Aunt Eller, Laurey Williams, Ado Annie Carnes)
4 Men (Curly McLain, Jud Fry, Will Parker, The Peddler)

1 Woman (Gertie Cummings)
1 Man (Andrew Carnes)

Large singing and dancing ensemble with numerous small roles

Aunt Eller Murphy
Curly McLain, a cowboy
Laurey Williams, a farm girl
Jud Fry, a farm hand
Will Parker, a cowboy
Ado Annie Carnes, a farm girl
The Peddler
Gertie Cummings
Andrew Carnes, a farmer
Ike Skidmore, a rancher
Cord Elam, a rancher
Fred, a rancher
Slim, a rancher
Mike, a farmer
Joe, a cowboy
Tom, a cowboy
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.


  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Dance Requirements: Moderate
  • Vocal Demands: Easy
  • Chorus Size: Large
1. "Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin'" - Curly, Aunt Eller, Ensemble
2. "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top" - Curly, Aunt Eller, Farmhands
3. "Kansas City" - Will, Aunt Eller, Solo 1, Solo 2, Ike, Rodeo Folk
4. "I Cain't Say No!" - Ado Annie
5. "Many A New Day" - Laurey, Girls
6. "People Will Say We're In Love" - Curly, Laurey, Ensemble
7. "Out Of My Dreams" - Laurey, Girls
8. End Of Scene - Instrumental
9. "The Farmer And The Cowman (Part 1)" - Carnes, Aunt Eller, Will, Curly, Cord Elam, Fred, Vivian, Farmers, Cowmen, Ensemble
10. "The Farmer And The Cowman (Part 2)" - Will, Curly, Aunt Eller, Farmers, Cowmen, Ensemble
11. Reprise: "People Will Say We're In Love'' - Curly, Laurey, Ensemble
12. Change Of Scene - Instrumental
13. "All Er Nuthin'" - Will, Ado Annie
14. Change Into Scene 3 - Instrumental
15. "Oklahoma" - Aunt Eller, Carnes, Curly, Laurey, Solo 1, Solo 2, Solo 3, Solo 4, Ensemble
16. "Bows" - Ensemble
17. Exit Music - Instrumental
This musical is performed with accompaniment tracks. 



Want the full script?

Rent a digital perusal

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:

Standard Rental Package

30 Student Libretto/Vocal books
1 Piano/Vocal Book
1 Production Guide

1 Digital Resource Package:

  • Performance Tracks
  • Guide Vocal Tracks
  • Guide to Choreography & Staging
  • Audition Sides and Forms and Track Samples
  • Costume Design
  • Set Design (including instructions on how to build fence set pieces and a working windmill)
  • Props List
  • Artwork

Additional Resources And Services Available



"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


  • Rodgers and Hammerstein I Getting To Know... Oklahoma!

  • Oklahoma! Through Time and History

More videos +



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 ...

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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, Os ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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