I stumbled on an old book about Mssrs Rodgers and Hammerstein today, and found a chapter about the trials and tribulations of getting Oklahoma! off the ground. It was a tough one to finance, with no stars and a western subject matter. (Have we seen another cowboy musical since?)
R&H were turned down a ton, despite their previous successes. The boys were even forced to work what they call in the book, the "penthouse" circuit, visiting the wealthy in their apartments and singing/playing numbers from the show (a custom still done today).
But finance it they finally did.
And revolutionize American musical theater they also did.
But what about those reluctant financiers? And what about all those people that turned it down?
Well, according to this biography, a $20,000 investment in Oklahoma! eventually turned into 6.5 million.
So, all you folks out there raising money for your shows, the next time you hear, "You can never make money in the theater," remind them about Oklahoma!.
And say, "Sometimes you can not only make money, you can make history."
(If you're interested in reading more about OK, click here to get the book. It's an inspiring read.)
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