- First stamp in the Legends of American Music Series to honor a Broadway musical
- Oklahoma! was issued again in July, 1993 (with design changes) as part of a four-stamp booklet pane honoring it and three other musicals: Showboat, Porgy and Bess, and My Fair Lady.
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Legends of American Music
Value: 29c – First Class rate
First Day of Issue: March 30th 1993
First Day City: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Quantity Issued: 150,000,000
Printed by: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Format: Semi-jumbo size, printed in panes of 40; 5 columnsacross and 8 rows down
Why the stamp was issued: The Oklahoma! stamp was the second issue in the Legends of American Music Series. This time the subject honored was a popular Broadway musical. It was issued on the 50th anniversary of the show’s opening.
About the stamp design: Designed by artist WilsonMcLean with art direction by Terrance McCaffrey of the US Postal Service. McLean called his painting style “stylized realism”.
Special design details: The bottom of the black background of the word Oklahoma! resembles a torn ticket stub.
First Day City: Though the First Day of Issue ceremony was held in Oklahoma City, the stamp was available in every post office in the state.
About the Legends of American Music Series: The Legends of American Music stamp series debuted on January 8, 1993 and ran until 1999. More than 70 artists are included from all styles of music: rock and roll, rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and pop, opera and folk, classical and gospel. In addition to Broadway musicals, subjects include bandleaders, classical composers, Hollywood songwriters and composers, plus conductors and lyricists.
The Legends of American Music Set was a huge advancement for diversity because it honored so many Black and female artists.
The 29c “young Elvis” – #2721, kicked off the series in a big and very public way. Its design was voted on by over one million Americans, about 75% of whom favored the young Elvis over the “old Elvis” version.
History the stamp represents: From the beginning Oklahoma! seemed destined to fail. Not only was it based on a play that had been a failure, but it had no stars, no traditional chorus girl numbers, and its dramatic ballets and extended musical sequences seemed too unconventional for most audiences. Yet Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II defied the odds and went on to create not only one of the most popular musicals of all time, but also to revolutionize American musical theater as well.
Set in Indian Territory at the turn of the century, Oklahoma! tells of a love triangle between Laurey, Curly, and Jud Fry. Although Curly and Laurey are in love, both are uncertain of the other’s true feelings. When Laurey seems to be making no apparent headway with Curly, she accepts Jud’s invitation to a “box social”, where Curly expresses his love for her. The two marry, but Jud shows up at their wedding and attacks Curly. In the brawl that follows, Jud falls on his own knife and dies. After Curly is tried for murder and acquitted, he and Laurey leave for their honeymoon. Hailed by the critics as “delightful, fresh, and imaginative,” Oklahoma! toured the U.S. for over 10 years. The musical has been produced over 30,000 times around the world.