The Theater: Birthday Girl

Oklahoma! turned five. It was possibly the last annual milestone the Pulitzer-cited musical would pass on Broadway; she was still "fresh as a daisy," one critic reported, but her long box-office stride was slackening—as well it might. Oklahoma! had already far outrun (2,134 performances) any other musical in Broadway history*; only a handful of plays (e.g., Life with Father, Tobacco Road, Abie's Irish Rose) had lasted longer.

A road company was still going strong after four years, and a London production was sold out months in advance. Oklahoma! had been seen by more...

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