Oklahoma! – Studio Cast Recording 1964
ACT I It is a radiant summer morning in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) just after the turn of the twentieth century. Aunt Eller is churning butter, looking out over the meadow. Curly, a ranch hand, saunters by, singing (“Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’”). Curly intends to invite Aunt Eller’s niece, Laurey, the girl he wants to marry, to the box social that night but is reluctant to express his true feelings. When Laurey comes out of the house, the two banter back and forth about how much each doesn’t want anything to do with the other. Laurey wants to go to the party in high style and complains that Curly can’t escort her suitably (“The Surrey with the Fringe on Top”). Will Parker, a young neighbor of Aunt Eller’s. drops by to brag about the high time he had at the fair in “Kansas City.” He also boasts that he has won the $50 he needs to marry Ado Annie, Jud Fry, Laurey’s hired hand, announces that he’s taking her to the social, Curly, to spite Laurey, invites Aunt Eller to ride with him in the classy rig he has rented. Laurey is afraid of Jud, too scared to turn him down, and begs Aunt Eller to ride with her and Jud instead. She’s convinced Jud has “sumpin wrong inside” – there are dirty pictures tacked to his wall, and he has a spooky way of looking at her. Ado Annie comes by and learns that Will Parker is back from Kansas City. While he was gone she has taken up with the Ali Hakim the peddler-man. Annie is not always in control of herself when she’s with a man (“I Cain’t Say No”), and Will’s return has Annie confused about who she wants to marry. Ali Hakim shows up and goes into his pitch, selling gewgaws, snake oil, and lacy unmentionables for the ladies. Annie asks him straight out if he’s going to marry her. Fortunately for Ali, they are interrupted by Will, who is eager to tell Annie he won the money her father said he needed, and to show her the presents he bought with it. The yard is now filled with couples waiting to ride to the box social. When Curly and the rest of the boys leave to help Aunt Eller with the hampers that will be sold at auction at the party, Laurey lets the other girls know how little she cares (“Many a New Day”). Curly asks Laurey to go to the party with him instead of with Jud, but she is still hesitant to show her true emotions (“People Will Say We’re in Love”). When she won’t change her mind. Curly goes down to the smokehouse, he says, to see what makes Jud so special. Jud is polishing his pistol and pacing like a caged animal, and is not happy to see Curly. How smart Jud would be, Curly offers, if Jud would just hang himself – he’d be popular for the first time in his life, with women swarming and singing around his corpse (“Pore Jud Is Daid”). Jud grabs his gun and shoots wildly, but hits nothing but the ceiling. Everyone comes rushing into the smokehouse to see what has happened, but Jud wants sympathy from nobody (“Lonely Room”). All of Laurey’s girl friends are teasing her about going to the box social with Jud instead of with the boy she obviously loves (“Out of My Dreams”). ACT II At the Skidmore’s ranch, the party is in full swing. Judge Andrew Carnes philosophizes about conflicts in the Territory between two groups of men (“The Farmer and the Cowman”). A melee ensues, threatening to end the whole affair until Aunt Eller takes charge: it’s time to start the bidding for the hampers the girls have put together. Lots of people bid for Laurey’s hamper – even the federal marshal goes as high as $5. But Jud tops every bid by two bits, until Curly jumps in, selling off his saddle, his horse, and his gun to raise enough cash to buy the hamper. Will and Ado Annie set the date, and Will lays down the law about how Annie is going to behave with other men (“All Er Nuthin’”). Jud dances Laurey off alone and tries to force himself on her. She finally tells him that he disgusts her, and fires him. Jud skulks away, threatening revenge. Moments later, Curly finds the distraught Laurey, who runs to him for protection. When he proposes marriage at last, she admits how she has felt all along. Three weeks later Laurey and Curley are married (Finale: “Oklahoma”). Jud shows up uninvited; when he tries to kiss Laurey, Curly pushes him away. Jud pulls a knife and attacks Curly; in the struggle Jud falls on it, killing himself. Judge Carnes decides to hold a trial on the spot, and pronounces Curly “not guilty” of Jud’s death. Curly and Laurey start off on their happy honeymoon.
Curly: John Raitt Laurey: Florence Henderson Aunt Eller: Irene Carroll Will Parker: Jack Elliott Ado Annie Carnes: Phyllis Newman Jud Fry: Ara Berberian Judge Andrew Carnes: Leonard Stokes New Orchestrations by Philip J. Lang Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Franz Allers