Oklahoma - Rodgers and Hammerstein for solo guitar
by Alastair Lewis
(Pietermaritzburg, South Africa)
The musical Oklahoma! was the first written by team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, "Green Grow the Lilacs" is the basis for the musical, which is set in Oklahoma territory outside the town Claremore in 1906. The story revolves around the romance of a cowboy Curly McLain and his farm girl sweetheart Laurey Williams.
The original production opened on Broadway during World War II, on March 31, 1943. A box-office smash it ran for an unprecedented 2,243 performances, and later adapted into an Academy Award-winning film in 1955. It continues to be a popular choice for school and community productions.