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Agnes de MilleTelling Stories in Broadway Dance$
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Kara Anne Gardner

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199733682

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733682.001.0001

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The Dances of Oklahoma!

The Dances of Oklahoma!

An Authorship, or Work for Hire?

(p.21) 2 The Dances of Oklahoma!
Agnes de Mille

Kara Anne Gardner

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses de Mille’s collaboration with Rodgers and Hammerstein on Oklahoma!, her first Broadway hit. It describes the integral role dance played in the show; the nature of de Mille’s working relationship with Rodgers and Hammerstein; the contributions de Mille’s dances made to the meaning of the musical as a whole; and de Mille’s desire to be seen as a partial author of the work. Quotations from notes, letters, and interviews with cast members help reconstruct the genesis of the dances and serve as resources to interpret their meaning. De Mille’s unique contributions are highlighted as distinct from those of her collaborators. The dream ballet at the end of Act I is given special attention, as is the character of the “Girl Who Fell Down,” performed by Joan McCracken in the original production.

Keywords:   Oklahoma, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, the Theatre Guild, Joan McCracken, Bambi Linn, Celeste Holm, dream ballet

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