'Oklahoma!' at 75: Has the musical withstood the test of time?

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Ryan Raul Bañagale

With a new production of the musical opening soon, it's time to ask: Whose America did 'Oklahoma!' depict? And is the musical’s vision of the USA relevant today?

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A still from the restored print of Fred Zinnemann's 1955 film Oklahoma!, based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

About the author

Ryan Raul Bañagale is an Assistant Professor of music at Colorado College where he offers classes on a range of American music topics, including musical theatre, jazz, popular music, folk music, and media studies. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University with support from the American Musicological Society’s AMS-50 and Howard Mayer Brown Fellowships.

His first book, "Arranging Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue and the Creation of an American Icon" (Oxford University Press, 2014), focuses on the ongoing—and surprising—life of Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue over the course of the 90 years since its inception. He currently sits on the editorial board of the George Gershwin Critical Edition and will be editing at least three separate arrangements of Rhapsody in Blue. His research also appears in journals such as Jazz Perspectives and the Journal of the Society For American Music.