Iconic photos of a changing city, and commentary on our Collections & Exhibitions from the crew at MCNY.org
The lights come up on a picturesque farm scene. It’s March 31, 1943, opening night at the St. James Theatre on 44th Street. The stage’s sole occupant is an older woman at work at a butter churn. She pauses her churning to listen to a sound drifting in from offstage. “There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow” sings a confident male voice. A few lines later, the singer, a handsome young cowboy, walks on stage and turns toward the audience, “Oh, what a beautiful morning.” And oh, what a beautiful opening night for Oklahoma!, the first musical from composer-lyrist team Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.