And it must seem quaint to us that escorting a girl on a picnic could create the kind of conflict that it does in this story. Another disconcerting element in "Oklahoma" is the sight of supposedly rough, rugged cowboys performing in pristine, balletic sequences staged by Agnes De Mille. After our generation has grown up on the gritty realism and sensuality of choreography by the likes of Bob Fosse or even Baz Luhrmann, this type of choreography seems dated and out of place.
But despite these criticisms, "Oklahoma" is still a great musical because of the music itself, and the way the music is so seamlessly integrated into the plot and characterizations. Simply stated, the melodies composed by the prodigious Richard Rodgers and the lyrics written by the poetic Oscar Hammerstein II for "Oklahoma" are magnificent.
For instance, is there a grander or more exuberant description of a wondrous new day than in "Oh What a Beautiful Morning"? Or a more lilting expression of reluctant love than in "People Will Say We're in Love"? Or how about the lyrical beauty and grace of the waltz "Out of My Dreams"? Or the syncopated melody and lyrics of "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" which is a perfect accompaniment to the clippity-clop of a horse pulling a carriage?Read more ›