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An evening pause: From the 1955 movie, Oklahoma. This Broadway musical is one of the best examples of the fundamental differences between American culture and what preceded it. In the past, all music, drama, fiction, etc, revolved around telling the stories of the powerful, the nobility, the rulers, and the great. In the United States, “of the people, for the people, by the people,” literature, art, drama, and music has focused instead mostly on the lives and concerns of ordinary people. In this musical, for example, the story is about how two ordinary cowpokes decide to give up their roaming ways to settle down and become farmers, all for love. And in doing so, Rogers and Hammerstein end up also telling the story of the American west as it transitioned from the wild west of gold rush boom towns and cattle drive cowboys into a settled society of cities and families.
And the music and choreography is great too!
Hat tip Edward Thelen.