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Oh, what a beautiful mornin’! Oh, what a beautiful way to pay tribute to the great Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Now that the first season of Watchmen is in your rearview mirror, perhaps its time to revisit the HBO series to see all the ways Executive Producer Damon Lindelof and his writers paid tribute to the musical Oklahoma! — the first musical written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein in the early ’40s.

Since the series takes place in Tulsa, Lindelof used songs from the score, as well as character names and lyrics, in his series that’s a continuation of the classic 1987 graphic novel of the same name from DC Comics.

“We are thrilled that our seminal American classic, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, continues to inspire new audiences,” according to a statement from The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. “Beginning with the pilot episode and continuing with last night’s season finale of Watchmen, we enjoyed seeing Damon Lindelof’s thoughtful and clever integration of the music, themes, and stories that Rodgers & Hammerstein put to paper over seven decades ago. When the production came to us with these requests, we were happy to approve the idea of these characters, music, and lyrics being incorporated with the narrative of HBO’s show. We are proud that the music of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II was used to advance the storytelling in this critically acclaimed drama.”

Can’t remember all the Easter eggs that were pulled from the musical? Here’s a handy breakdown of the times Oklahoma! — as well as Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific — were featured during the drama’s first season.

All the references in the premiere episode:

  • The title song from Oklahoma! is performed as an onstage production with full costumes and choreography.
  • The character of Judd Crawford (Don Johnson) is introduced as “a cowboy through and through,” similar to the character of Curly in Oklahoma! Judd shares the same name as Jud Fry, the antagonist in the musical.
  • It’s revealed that Judd actually played the character of Curly in his high school production of Oklahoma! so he sings “People Will Say We’re in Love” during a dinner party.
  • The episode is titled “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice,” which is a lyric from the song “Pore Jud is Daid” from the musical. The song can be heard when Judd is discovered hanging from a tree.

Reference in episode 5:

  • The classic ballad “Some Enchanted Evening” from the musical South Pacific is repeated multiple times throughout the episode.

References in the season 1 finale:

  • Oklahoma! is featured on the theatre marquis. The theatre is where Angela (Regina King) reunites with her grandfather Will (Louis Gossett Jr.) at the end of the episode.
  • “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” plays as Angela, Will, and her children walk out of the theater and gaze upon the carnage across downtown Greenwood.

Related content:

Oklahoma!

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  • Trevor Nunn

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