The Auction scene in Oklahoma!

The Auction scene in Oklahoma!

The burning question in Oklahoma! is who will take Laurey Williams to the box social (the local dance) - the decent Curly McLain or the sinister Jud Fry. It is set against the background of Oklahoma's attempts to be recognised as a state (which it finally achieved in 1907, celebrated in the rousing title-song), and the arguments between the farmers and the cowboys about who has the greater claim to the land. This scene, from the 1947 London production, is one of high drama within the bounds of the plot. At the box social the men bid to buy the picnic 'boxes' prepared by the girls – with the girl's company thrown in. Curly and Jud get into a bidding war over Laurey's basket which spirals out of control. Here Curly, played by Howard Keel, offers to sell his saddle, which he needs to make his living as a cowboy, in order to match Jud's bid of his life's savings.