Welcome to April 2018’s Musical Theatre Monday! At this time 75 years ago, New York audiences were first being introduced to the glorious sounds of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s legendary Oklahoma! (1943), which opened on March 31, 1943. This musical drama needs no introduction — it’s the one often credited with having changed theatergoers’ expectations regarding the narrative integration of song, dance, and story, and its importance has never been forgotten. In fact, its very existence has been used here as an aesthetic marker; there’s everything that came before Oklahoma! and everything that came after it.
In this entry, I’m offering subscribed readers their own digital copy of The University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ 2011 production (which can currently be seen elsewhere on YouTube). This mounting is notable for not only utilizing Robert Russell Bennett’s original orchestrations/arrangements, but also for recreating Agnes de Mille’s famed choreography, along with the 1943 costumes and scenic design, which haven’t been put to use in over 50 years… You can see a clip of this wonderful, ambitious undertaking below. If you’d like to download the full video, please subscribe (if you haven’t already) and comment here.
For curious commenting subscribers, I’m also offering an audio of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2013 production, which used the original orchestrations and choreography, as well (but, unlike UNCSA, didn’t seek to be a replication of the original visually). Here’s an excerpt.
Come back next month for another Musical Theatre entry! And stay tuned tomorrow for our rerun series!