Lynn Riggs Players of Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Theater

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Photo of Lynn Riggs

Lynn Riggs; photo © The Lynn Riggs Memorial (all rights reserved; used by permission).

Lynn Riggs Players of Oklahoma, Inc.

Oklahoma designated the Lynn Riggs Players of Oklahoma, Inc. as the official state theater in 1971. Poet, musician, dramatist, scenarist and director Lynn Riggs (1899 - 1954) wrote 21 full-length plays, numerous short stories, poems, and even a television script before his untimely death at 55. Then Governor Johnston Murray sent an Oklahoma flag to drape over his coffin (the first time in Oklahoma's history this was done). The Rogers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! is based on Riggs' play Green Grow The Lilacs.

The son of a cattleman, Lynn Riggs was born on a farm near Claremore, Oklahoma during territorial days. Being of Cherokee Indian descent, as a child Lynn heard the chants of his family's original tribe and he learned many of the folk ballads of the hardy pioneers (songs which later he used in several of his plays). From Some Personal Remembrances About Lynn Riggs by Joseph Benton:

"Like his Claremore townsman, Will Rogers, Lynn's strength lay in being his own natural self. Lynn wrote about people he had known, entwining their foibles, weaknesses and strengths, their garrulous chatterings and grass-roots wisdoms throughout his plays … Both were unique and both were great Oklahomans and great Americans."

Oklahoma Historical Society

Legislation also designated The Oklahoma Historical Society as "the official depository for such articles, papers, script and other materials and items as may be donated to the state by the Lynn Riggs Players of Oklahoma, Inc., for advancing the cultural and educational heritage of Oklahoma."

Oklahoma

Images

Lynn Riggs used miniatures to stage his play setups; photo © The Lynn Riggs Memorial (all rights reserved; used by permission).

Lynn Riggs with miniatures stage