1993 Oklahoma! – Broadway Musicals
Legends of American Music Series
- Honors well-known musical Oklahoma! – chosen to represent the decade of shows produced in the 1940s
- Issued as part of the Broadway Musicals set for the 100th anniversary of Broadway
- Part of the Legends of American Music Series
Legends of American Music
29¢, First Class Mail Rate
First Day of Issue:
July 14, 1993
First Day City:
New York, New York
515,000,000 (Total for all four Broadway Musicals stamps)
Printed for American Bank Note Company by Multi-Color Corporation of Scottsburg, Indiana
Booklet, 5 panes of 4 horizonal stamps each, arranged vertically. Gravure printing cylinders of 220 subjects (11 across, 20 around).
10.9 (L perforator)
Why the stamp was issued:
To celebrate the landmark American musical Oklahoma!
and commemorate the 100th
anniversary of Broadway.
About the stamp design:
Like the other Broadway Musicals stamps, the design was created using a large collection of photographs as reference. New York City artist Wilson McLean created pencil sketches for the approval of the Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee before creating final oil paintings to be pictured on the stamps. Interestingly, McLean received special permission from the Postal Service to make his finished paintings larger than the five-times-stamp-size maximum normally imposed on stamp artists.
Special design details:
stamp pictures the lovers Laurey and Curly dancing outdoors with a fence, plowed field, and barn in the background. A cornstalk can be seen at the left side of the design.
First Day City:
This stamp, along with the rest of the Broadway Musicals set, was issued in New York, New York, the home of Broadway and a fitting place for the stamps’ First Day of Issue. The day coincided with the second annual “Broadway on Broadway” event in New York City.
About the Broadway Musicals set:
The four-stamp set was issued to commemorate the 100th
anniversary of Broadway. The set pictured scenes from musicals that made their mark on American music: Show Boat
, Porgy and Bess
, and My Fair Lady
. The Oklahoma!
stamp was the same design used earlier in 1993 to commemorate the musical’s 50th
anniversary (although there were some design differences as the two stamps weren’t printed by the same company).
Project manager for the Legends of American Music series, Terrence McCaffrey chose a musical from each decade (Show Boat
from the 1920s, Porgy and Bess
from the 1930s, Oklahoma!
from the 1940s, and My Fair Lady
from the 1950s. Overall, the set was created based on the desire of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to honor composers of American musical theater.
McCaffrey also said of the Broadway Musicals designs that he wanted to make sure the stamp designs wouldn’t remind the viewer of the famous actors and actresses most well-known for playing specific roles in these musicals. He said “We needed to have generic faces as opposed to the more recognizable faces from the actual musicals.”
About the Legends of American Music Series:
The Legends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993, and ran until September 21, 1999. More than 90 artists are represented from all styles of music: rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and pop, opera and classical, gospel and folk. In addition to individual singers and Broadway musicals, subjects include band leaders, classical composers, Hollywood songwriters and composers, conductors, lyricists, and more. The Legends of American Music Series was a huge advancement for diversity because it honored many Black and female artists.
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 the 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 true love for her. The two marry, but Jud shows up at their wedding and attacks Curly. In the ensuing brawl, Jud falls on his own knife and is killed. Curly is tried for murder, but acquitted, and he and Laurey leave for their honeymoon. Hailed by the critics as “delightful, fresh, and imaginative,” Oklahoma!
has been seen in countless productions the world over.