Is Anything More American Than Oklahoma! in Oklahoma?

Forget Broadway’s Reopening—The Nation’s Artistic Heartbeat Is at Its Center

If there’s a more rambunctious and promiscuous genre than musical theater, I haven’t met it yet.

Musicals are an everywhere phenomenon. They touch an enormously broad swath of American lives, unapologetically building worlds that don’t yet exist. I see this commitment to the not-yet as an aspiration for the rest of us stuck living in the here-and-now.

I recently wrote a book about musicals, and visited communities in the heartland that were using musical theater to help understand their place in this country. I watched an original musical about Samson and Delilah …