Whether from a Single Voice Offstage or a 360-Member Choir, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” Shines
In March of 1943, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were on the verge of becoming household names. Their first musical collaboration, Oklahoma!, was opening on Broadway, and the first song from the show became one of their most famous. “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” was recorded numerous times and was featured on many television variety shows. It was one of the most popular songs to originate during the wartime era, and it gained additional popularity when the 1955 film version, starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae, was released.
The Broadway musical was a huge success and ran for 2,212 performances. Rodgers and Hammerstein won a special Pulitzer Prize for the musical in 1944. In 1956, the film version won Academy Awards® for Best Sound Recording and Best Music.
The musical begins differently than most Broadway productions of its time. Many shows during that period were known for dazzling spectacles featuring numerous dancers. InOklahoma!, however, the main character, Curly McLain, is heard singing from offstage as he looks forward to the beautiful day that awaits. Far from a single voice, the 360-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir lend a spine tingling feeling to this great American Broadway musical classic. It has been sung hundreds of times by the Choir on tour and on broadcasts and remains an audience favorite. Listen to this recent rendition of “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin.'”