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Summary of the Musical 'Oklahoma!'


| Curly McLain | Ado Annie Carnes | Will Parker | Aunt Eller Murphy | Laurey Williams | Ali Hakim |

| Andrew Carnes | Jud Fry |Gertie Cummings | Ike Skidmore | Marshal Cord Elam |


Setting: Territory in the Midwest right before Oklahoma becomes a state.

Summary: ACT I: Aunt Eller is outside churning butter when you hear the first strains of ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’.’ The singer is unknown until he appears onstage. Curly enters and he is looking to call on Laurey who is in the house. Laurey appears hanging laundry and gives Curly a difficult time, but it is apparent there is some level of attraction. Curly offers to take Laurey to the box-social that night, but she does not think that he could accompany her in an appropriate style. Then he sings about the surrey he is supposedly taking her in, in ‘The Surrey with the Fringe on Top.’ The surrey he describes is elaborate and beautiful. Laurey is enchanted by it. However, Curly admits that the surrey he was describing was only in his imagination. This sends Laurey into a rage. Then Jud, the hired hand working for Laurey and Aunt Eller, puts it into the open that he wants to take Laurey to the Social. Laurey, who is scared of what will happen if she does not go with Jud, decides to go with Jud. Curly, who is hurt, then invites Aunt Eller to accompany him to the social.

Then Will Arrives with others at Aunt Eller’s immediately after arriving home from Kansas City where he competed in a steer-roping contest and won fifty dollars. Will goes on to tell about all the wonders he saw in the city in the song ‘Kansas City’. Will then goes to find Ado Annie and tell her the news. The fifty dollars is an important thing to Will since Ado Annie’s father, Judge Andrew Carnes, told Will that he could only marry Ado Annie if he was ever worth fifty dollars. But, Will used the fifty dollars to buy gifts for Ado Annie.

However, Ado Annie confides to Laurey that she has feelings for a peddler named Ali Hakim, and cannot choose between Will and Ali, as she elaborates in the song ‘I Cain’t Say No.’ Then, later as people are meeting at Aunt Eller’s on their way to the Social, Curly walks in with Gertie Cummings, but Laurey pretends she is not bothered by this. She makes sure that everyone knows she is not bothered by singing the song ‘Many a New Day’, which basically states that there are many other men whom she can fall in love with.

On the other hand, although Ado Annie cannot choose between Ali and Will, her father certainly does. When Ado Annie tells her father all the sweet talking Ali has said, Old Man Carnes makes the decision for her, since the sweet talking to him is equal to a proposal of marriage. To get his message across, Carnes incorporates his shotgun to help. Ali has nothing to do but to agree. He vents in the number ‘It’s a Scandal! It’s a Outrage!’

Next, Laurey and Curly are talking and even though they are still guarded towards each other, they agree that people are beginning to talk in the song ‘People Will Say We’re In Love.’ Curly is worried about Laurey going to the Social with Jud, and he airs his concerns to her, but she still is going to go with Jud. Curly is hurt again, and he decides to go talk to Jud. Curly visits Jud and tries to soften him up first by saying ‘even though people do not like you much now, just think of how sad they will be when you die’ in the song ‘Pore Jud is Daid.’ However, it is soon obvious that both men want her, and are willing to fight for her. The tensions are high, and Jud gets angry and shoots his gun in the air. Then Curly shows his marksmanship by shooting a knothole on the wall. This alarms the people up at Aunt Eller’s house which is nearby, and they come to see what was going on. Curly assures them that there is no reason to worry, and they all leave. Then, Curly leaves the smokehouse where Jud lives. Jud is all alone, and despises living alone in the mess he calls home in ‘Lonely Room.’ Jud decides to make sure that Laurey is his.

Meanwhile, earlier Laurey had bought some smelling salts from the peddler, who called the smelling salts “The Elixir of Egypt”, and that they will clear her thoughts. Now, Laurey who is now fearful and confused decides to give the smelling salts a try. The song ‘Out of My Dreams’ begins the dream sequence which Laurey has. In her dream, she sees herself marrying Curly, only to have Jud come in and carry her away. When Curly fights for her a struggle ensues, but in the end, Jud kills Curly. Laurey wakes up, only to find Jud there to take her to the Social and Curly also. Laurey, who is scared from what happens in her dream, goes with Jud.

ACT II: The farmers and the cowmen, who are usually rivals, come together at the social to help raise money for a new schoolhouse. There is much dancing and fighting as they sing ‘The Farmer and The Cowmen’ which is a song where each side pokes fun at the other. Each girl made a hamper, and in order to raise money for the schoolhouse, bids are placed on the hampers. Meanwhile, Ali Hakim is trying to get out of the marriage to Ado Annie, buy buying all of Will’s gifts, so that Will has fifty dollars.

Two hampers are left, Ado Annie’s and Laurey’s. Will comes and puts fifty dollars on Ado’s hamper, and is mocked by her father, saying that he is now broke and . However, Ali, who does not want to be married to Ado Annie, puts fifty-one dollars on the hamper. Then it is Laurey’s hamper, and it is between Jud and Curly. Curly sells everything he needs for his livelihood as a cowboy and out bets Jud. The party continues, and Ado and Will talk alone, and Will makes it apparent what his rules for matrimony are in the song ‘It’s All Er Nothin.’’

Next Laurey and Jud are talking and Jud begins to threaten her and Laurey manages to fire him. However she is very upset and Curly comforts her, and they both realize that they are actually in love and sing ‘People Will Say We’re In Love: Reprise.’

A few weeks later, Curly and Laurey have gotten married, and in the song ‘Oklahoma’ it is stated that they could not have picked a better time to start in life, in a brand new state. Also, Will and Ado are hitched, and Ali Hakim was trapped into marriage with Gertie Cummings.

On the wedding night, the men throw a “Shivoree” for Laurey and Curly, which is a harmless custom. Jud stumbles in drunk, and tries to kill Curly, there is a fight, and Jud falls on his own knife. Curly is charged with the murder of Jud, but an unplanned trial takes place so Curly is not in jail on his wedding night. Curly is not guilty because it was self defense. He and Laurey are now free to leave for their honeymoon. They leave, as friends and family sing to them with the song ‘Finale Ultimo.’

More Info On 'Oklahoma!'

History of 'Oklahoma!'
History of Musical Theatre
Royal National Theatre
The Movie
From Stage To Screen
Sheet Music
Broadway Review
Synopsis, Song List, and Info