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Kansas City (Oklahoma!)

 

Kansas City (Oklahoma!)

"Kansas City"
Song from Oklahoma!
Published 1943
Writer Oscar Hammerstein II
Composer Richard Rodgers

"Kansas City" is a song from the musical Oklahoma!. The plot set-up for it is the return of cowboy Will Parker from an excursion to the city of the same name. He describes his experiences in song. The song describes the wonders of there and its entertainments (from the viewpoint of a country bumpkin), all reprising with the concept that the conditions (in 1906) represent the ultimate in progress, with little more expected.

For the 1955 motion picture, a few lyrics about a burlesque stripteaser had to undergo minor changes to pass film censorship. In the original Broadway musical, Will sings:

I could swear that she was padded from her shoulder to her heel.
But later in the second act, when she began to peel,
She proved that everything she had was absolutely real!
For the film, these were changed to:
I could swear that she was padded from her shoulder to her heel.
But then she started dancing and her dancing made me feel
That every single thing she had was absolutely real!

Building

The song includes the lyrics:

Everything's up to date in Kansas City
They gone about as fer as they can go
They went an' built a skyscraper seven stories high
About as high as a buildin' orta grow.

The tallest buildings there in 1906 (the era when the musical is set) were the 12-story New York Life Insurance Building building and the newly built 17-story Commerce Trust Tower.

A major seven-story building at the time was The Jones Store at 12th and Main which took up an entire block and was 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2).


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