Sunday, March 21, 2010

Plot Summary of "Oklahoma"

Now don't get me wrong.  I LOVE the musical theatre.  I never tire of those old Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals, the Lerner & Lowe gems.   I truly believe that musical theatre enhances my quality of life like nothing else.  Still, looking at "Oklahoma", one has to reflect at just how simplistic the plot for this delightful classic is....

True to expected male behavior, Curly shows up ON the day of the box social to ask Laurey to go with him.  He disses her; she sasses him.  He paints her this fantastical castle-in-the-air lie about taking her to the box social in some pimped-up carriage and when it turns out not to be true, she is pissed and promptly marches straight to the smoke house to strut her stuff in front of the creepy, sullen hired hand, Jud.  What Jud’s issues are, I’m not sure, but I suspect they’re related to the displacement of Native Americans from their homeland by the Oklahoma Land Rush.  In any case, Jud asks Laurey to the Box Social; she inexplicably agrees to go.

A ‘Box Social’ is apparently an event where, upon walking through the door, everyone immediately forgets with whom they came with because the apex of the evening involves bidding on various picnic baskets and then leaving with the owner of said picnic basket as arm candy.  Laurey came with Jud, Curly came with that harpy skank, Aunt Eller.  Of course, Laurey’s basket is the last one to be bid upon and, until the very end, it looks like Jud is going to be the victor.  Curly takes note of Laurey’s terror at being ‘won’ by Jud (even though this WHOLE scenario is HER fault) and proceeds to sell off all of his personal effects to members of the crowd (his saddle, his horse, AND his gun, which we suspect he may regret later) in order to outbid Jud and win Laurey’s goodies (so to speak).  Curly does manage to persevere and, in spite of having ransomed all of his available means of support (saddle, horse, gun), he and Laurey run off stage to wedded bliss.

The final scene finds Laurey and Curly about to go off on their honeymoon when Jud shows up.  Curly decks him with just one punch, and the drunken klutz falls on his own knife and dies.  For some reason, this is Curly’s fault and he’s due to be arrested and go on trial for murder.  Ten minutes before they’re to hop the train for their honeymoon, someone in the crowd who professes to be a judge (ah, the justice system in the old west) pronounces Curly not guilty.  “Never mind the furthermore, the plea is self-defense.”

Finally, finally, after suffering through petulant female performances, chauvinistic male posturing, and those tedious ballet interludes, we are treated to “Oklahoma”, the finale, for which we’ve waited the entire performance.  We immediately forget about all that and leave with a bright golden haze on our meadows and a song in our hearts.  The end.

Next up:  Ado Annie—Pre-Feminist Role Model or Frontier Slut.


  1. Did you go see this recently? LOLOL I'm looking forward to the next one . . . Ado Annie was always my favorite character.

  2. Applause, applause. A fitting synopsis: Laurey and Curly bicker, flirt, bicker, flirt (and finally make out just when we're due for more bickering), Jud dies; we drag him offstage and all live happily ever after.


  3. You forgot to put "Spoiler alert" before writing this! Fortunately I didn't read it until I went to the show. While watching the show I thought the villian was going to win, but in the end it was the hero who triumphed. I am sooo glad that moment wasn't taken from me with this article!

    Gotta love the classics! ;0)

  4. Sorry! It being a classic, I sort of thought everyone knew the plot line. Sorry!!!