March 31, 1943

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Oklahoma! premiered at the St. James Theater in New York City on March 31, 1943. The wildly popular musical was made into a movie by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1955. According to Dianna Everett in the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, “general consensus remains that the musical has done more to improve the state’s public image than any other effort ever made.”

A chorale performing songs from Oklahoma! at the Oklahoma City premiere of the film in 1956.
A chorale performed songs from Oklahoma! at the Oklahoma City premiere of the film in 1956.

Photo source: Images of Oklahoma poster collection.

Photo credit: Oklahoma Historical Society Research Division, OPUBCO Collection

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