HAVE SHOW, WILL TRAVEL
By Clif’ Warren
Emulating a tradition from the 1920s that originated in the hearts and minds of collegians at Ivy League schools in the East like Princeton, Oklahoma universities are actively engaged in producing complete new musicals. The reward then—and now—is that the packaged dream will reach Broadway, become a staple as a touring show, or lock in as summer stock favorite. Novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald began his career laboring in this way, as did Cole Porter, the composer, and Jimmy Stewart, the actor.
University musicals still find favorite subjects in classic literature, topics in the news, national heroes of renown, and careers of popular performers, copying what has succeeded on Broadway for decades.
Before film stardom and journalistic success, Will Rogers pleased audiences as a star for years with his rope tricks and witty commentary in annual Ziegfeld revues on Broadway, causing Oklahoma to become indelibly associated with the Great White Way, an association greatly enhanced with the worldwide popularity of “Oklahoma,” the musical and film, and the lively musical biography of Rogers himself now performed in theatres as far away as Japan in translation.
It appears only natural that the latest to enter the lists of musical revue contenders is “Flipside: The Patti Page Story,” about the Oklahoma native and popular singer who ruled the airways during the 1950s and early 1960s. Page was the only star ever to be featured in shows on all three major TV networks.
To read more about how a girl from Claremore, Oklahoma became the inspiration for a new musical, download our free digital magazine here.
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