Oklahoma (Rodgers and Hammerstein song)

Last updated
"Oklahoma"
Song
Published1943
Songwriter(s) Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II

"Oklahoma" is the title song from the Broadway musical Oklahoma! , named for the setting of the musical play. The music and lyrics were written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The melody is reprised in the main title of the 1955 film version and in the overtures of both film and musical productions.

Broadway theatre class of professional theater presented in New York City, New York, USA

Broadway theatre, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

Musical theatre work that combines songs, music, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance

Musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger – are communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Although musical theatre overlaps with other theatrical forms like opera and dance, it may be distinguished by the equal importance given to the music as compared with the dialogue, movement and other elements. Since the early 20th century, musical theatre stage works have generally been called, simply, musicals.

<i>Oklahoma!</i> Rodgers and Hammerstein musical

Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in farm country outside the town of Claremore, Indian Territory, in 1906, it tells the story of farm girl Laurey Williams and her courtship by two rival suitors, cowboy Curly McLain and the sinister and frightening farmhand Jud Fry. A secondary romance concerns cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie.

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In 1953, the Oklahoma legislature chose it as the state song of Oklahoma, replacing a less well-known song, "Oklahoma - A Toast", that had been adopted in 1935.

Rodgers and Hammerstein song

Midway through the second act of the play, after the principals Curly and Laurey are married, Curly begins to sing the song and is soon joined by the entire cast as a chorus. The lyric, which briefly depicts the Midwestern twang phonetically,[ clarification needed ] describes the landscape and prairie weather in positive language. It further emphasizes the wholesome aspects of rural life, and the steadfast dedication of the region's inhabitants, against the overtly stated formal backdrop of the territory's impending admission to the Union in 1907.

Hammerstein's lyric is also notable and memorable for its trochaic re-iteration of its title as a chant, and the final iambic eight-letter spelling of the title as a play on the colloquial English word "Okay". Orchestrator Robert Russell Bennett's massive 8-part chorale near the end of the song extends it to include a spelling of the name, ending with an epic ritardando leading into one last iteration of "Oklahoma."

In poetic metre, a trochee, choree, or choreus, is a metrical foot consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one, in English, or a heavy syllable followed by a light one in Latin or Greek. In this respect, a trochee is the reverse of an iamb.

Robert Russell Bennett American composer, arranger

Robert Russell Bennett was an American composer and arranger, best known for his orchestration of many well-known Broadway and Hollywood musicals by other composers such as Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, and Richard Rodgers.

The state of Oklahoma officially adopted the song as its state song in 1953. [1] It is the only official state song from a Broadway musical. State Representative George Nigh, who later served as the state's Governor, was the principal author of the legislation designating the state song. [2]

George Nigh American politician

George Patterson Nigh is an American politician and civic leader from the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Nigh served as the 17th and the 22nd Governor of Oklahoma and as the 8th and 10th Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma. He was the first Oklahoma governor to be re-elected and the first to win all 77 counties in the state. Additionally, short term vacancies in the governor's office twice resulted in Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma Nigh assuming gubernatorial duties while serving as lieutenant governor.

The song also serves as one of the key songs of the University of Oklahoma. The song plays as one of the hourly tunes from the bell tower on campus. The song is also played by the Pride of Oklahoma at various Oklahoma Sooners athletic events and other campus events.

University of Oklahoma public research university in Norman, Oklahoma, United States

The University of Oklahoma (OU) is a public research university in Norman, Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it had existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory for 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. In Fall 2018 the university had 31,702 students enrolled, most at its main campus in Norman. Employing nearly 3,000 faculty members, the school offers 152 baccalaureate programs, 160 master's programs, 75 doctorate programs, and 20 majors at the first professional level. David Boren, a former U.S. Senator and Oklahoma Governor, served as the university's president from 1994 to 2018. James L. Gallogly succeeded Boren on July 1, 2018.

Oklahoma Sooners intercollegiate sports teams of the University of Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Sooners are the athletic teams that represent the University of Oklahoma, located in Norman. The 19 men's and women's varsity teams are called the "Sooners", a reference to a nickname given to the early participants in the Land Run of 1889, which initially opened the Unassigned Lands in the future state of Oklahoma to non-native settlement. The university's athletic teams compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division I in the Big 12 Conference. The university's current athletic director is Joe Castiglione.

Previous state song

According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, the first state song was "Oklahoma - A Toast". It was written in 1905 by Mrs. Harriett Parker Camden, a resident of Kingfisher, Oklahoma. It became a hit within the state, and was adopted as the state song by the legislature on March 26, 1935. [3] The lyrics of the refrain are:

Kingfisher, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Kingfisher is a city in and the county seat of Kingfisher County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 4,633 at the 2010 census, up from 4,380 at the 2000 census. It is the former home and namesake of Kingfisher College. According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Kingfisher is now primarily a bedroom community for people employed in Enid and Oklahoma City.

"I give you a land of sun and flowers, and summer a whole year long, I give you a land where the golden hours roll by to the mockingbird's song, Where the cotton blooms 'neath the southern sun, where the vintage hangs thick on the vine. A land whose story has just begun. This wonderful land of mine." [3]

Award

Members of the Western Writers of America chose "Oklahoma" as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time. [4]

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References

  1. 25 O.S. § 94.1, Official State Song.
  2. 1 2 "Oklahoma Memories: Oklahoma State Song." March 24, 2012. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  3. Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014.