Indie Studio Skydance Television is collaborating with the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization to develop a TV series from the classic 1943 musical Oklahoma!, currently enjoying a dramatically re-imagined revival production on Broadway. The news was reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
The serialized adaptation, being written by John Lee Hancock (The Blindside) and Bekah Brunstetter (This Is Us, Off-Broadway's The Cake), will update the story to modern times and feature newly arranged Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes alongside new original songs. No network is attached to the project, but Skydance plans to shop the series out to cable and streaming outlets.
Oklahoma! would not be the first Rodgers and Hammerstein musical to be developed for television. The King and I was adapted into Anna and the King, a non-musical series with its original stage and film star Yul Brynner reprising his role as the King of Siam in 1972, though it only lasted for one season. A failed pilot of a 1976 State Fair series, not expressly based on the movie musical but rather the book on which it was based, was included as a bonus feature on DVD and Blu-ray releases of the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical film as well.
Hancock is set to direct the series' pilot episode and executive produce with Brunstetter, Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization President Ted Chapin, Concord Music's Film and TV Head Sophia Dilley, and Skydance TV's David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross. Bill Bost, Skydance Senior Vice President, will oversee the project.
The first collaboration between the Broadway golden age powerhouse duo of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Oklahoma! was adapted from Lynn Riggs' play Green Grow the Lilacs, and featured groundbreaking choreography by Agnes de Mille. The original production, which premiered on Broadway in 1943, is largely credited with being the first musical to fully integrate its book, score, and choreography towards advancing the plot.