YEEE HAW BROADWAY FANS!! Broadway’s biggest night of the year is 20 days away and we have more in our Top 30 Tony Awards countdown playing you the best of past performances from the past telecasts over the last 70 years.
Today at #20 is one of the Greatest American Musicals of all time. Better, it’s well known as one of the first few musicals that incorporated song and dance with the storytelling. This is one our personal favorites and what we mention a lot on our tours… We of course are talking about Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II‘s Oklahoma!
From the 2002 telecast, Tony Award winner Andrea Martin, Tony Award nominee Patrick Wilson, Olivier Award nominee Josefina Gabrielle, and cast members from that year’s revival take us to the Box Social for a round-up rendition of the show’s Act 2 opener THE FARMER AND THE COWMEN.
OKLAHOMA first premiered in 1943 at Broadway’s St. James Theatre as a massive box office smash running for 2,212 performances. Ticket sales were so impossible to get when it first came out. The Tony Awards would later be developed a few years later. The show later was revived 4 times starting in 1951 at the Broadway Theatre running for 100 performances, 1953 for brief stint at City Center (in honor of the 10th Anniversary) for 40 performances, 1979 at the Palace Theatre for 293 performances (featuring?Christine Andreas and Christine Ebersole, who received the only 2 Tony nominations that year but lost both in their categories as Best Leading and Featured Actress in a Musical). Finally in 2002, the critically acclaimed 1998 West End production from the National Theatre London (as seen in this video) played Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre receiving 7 Tony nominations and took home only 1 for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (for Shuler Hensley) playing 388 performances. That 1998 West End production (which later hit Broadway in 2002) is actually now available on DVD starring Tony winning Stage and Screen actor Hugh Jackman which made him a big star in the UK before conquering the world of Hollywood. That revival was also well known for having the real actors playing Curly and Laurey to the dance in the show’s iconic Dream Ballet sequence rather than having a professional dancing double do it. Also, Hensley and Josefina Gabrielle were the only 2 actors who reprised their London roles of Jud and Laurey for Broadway.
Isn’t OKLAHOMA such a timeless musical?!