Words: Richard Rodgers
Music: Oscar Hammerstein II
Written in: Authored Date:


The setting is the Indian Territory, soon after the beginning of the 20th century. Aunt Eller is churning butter outside her farmhouse when Curly arrives singing of the beautiful morning. He has called to invite Eller.s niece, Laurey, to a box-social that evening. When Laurey appears, she feigns indifference to Curly, so he tries to impress her with a description of the surrey in which he will take her to the party. He then angers her by claiming that the surrey is only a figment of his imagination. Will Parker now appears and describes to his friends his recent experiences in Kansas City, where he won fifty dollars in a steer-roping contest. That fifty dollars is vital to him, as he wants to marry Ado Annie and her father, Judge Andrew Carnes, will only give his consent if Will can accumulate such a sum.

In spite of her assumed diffidence towards Curly, Laurey is really in love with him. To arouse his jealousy, she decides to go to the box-social with Jud Fry, the hired hand, of whom she is actually - and rightly - afraid. Ado Annie has been flirting with a Persian peddler, Ali Hakim, who knows what he wants from her and it does not involve marriage! Annie confesses to Laurey that she likes both Will and Ali and cain.t say no to men. She tells her father that Will has spent the fifty dollars he won and describes the overtures she has received from Ali Hakim, which makes Mr Carnes insist, with the aid of his shotgun, that Ali marry his daughter.

Curly has been at the receiving end of approaches from giggling Gertie Cummings, with whom Laurey has a battle of words. She and Curly then tacitly acknowledge their feelings for each other. However, she does not feel able to break her promise to go to the party with Jud.

Curly decides to pay Jud a visit in the dirty smokehouse where he lives. He teases and goads Jud and learns that he is not to be trusted. He leaves him angry and in a torment of self pity. In a dream, which becomes an elaborate dance sequence, Laurey imagines marriage to Curly and the violent reaction of Jud.


The box-social starts with a cheerful dance, spiced with rivalry between the farmers and the cowboys. The auction of the food boxes follows, with the men bidding for the hampers of their favourite girls. Will Parker, trying to win the hand of Annie has raised fifty dollars by selling the presents he bought for her to Ali Hakim, who sees this as a way out of marriage to Annie. Will bids the cash for Annie.s hamper and loses the fifty dollars again. So Ali has to stump up an even greater sum to get the box and lose the girl. (Later, we learn of his marriage at the end of a gun but with a giggle!)

Curly and Jud have a bitter contest to buy Laurey.s basket. Jud is willing to commit his life savings and Curly can only succeed by selling everything he owns. Jud.s immediate attempt to kill Curly is thwarted and he disappears. Three weeks later, Curly marries Laurey, and everyone looks forward to the time when Oklahoma will be a state. Jud appears, intent on revenge, but in a fight with Curly falls on his own knife. A quickly improvised court is arranged by Judge Carnes and Curly is then freed to commence his honeymoon with Laurey.

Oklahoma, February 2008, Nuffield Theatre

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Sister Act

30th January - 2nd February 2019, NST Campus (Nuffield Theatre), Southampton

Performances 7:30pm. Saturday Matinee 2:30pm. Tickets: From £10

Family and group discounts available

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