It was the stuff of broadway legend
Meet a college jock from Southern California, blessed with an extraordinary gift. He sings around town and builds a bit of a reputation. Word travels and pretty soon the cheapest producers on Broadway actually pay for him to come to New York and audition for the most successful musical ever. All this without ever hearing him sing. He's never been to New York before, but within an hour of his arrival at Penn Station he is standing center stage at the St. James Theater before Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, the Theater Guild, and the very curious cast of Oklahoma! He asks if he could warm up before beginning the audition. Go right ahead, they say. He sings an English translation of Figaro's Aria from The Barber Seville. And don't think for a moment he didn't know what he was doing.
Of course, not only was John Raitt hired that day, but Dick and Oscar were inspired to write their new show, Carousel, specifically for that glorious voice. His was a towering, legendary Broadway debut and its impact cannot be overstated. The New York Times later wrote "Mr. Raitt's performance in Carousel was so memorable that he came to epitomize a new distinctively modern breed of Broadway leading man, with a rough-hewn realism that anticipated the flawed, vulnerable characters played by Brando and Dean a decade later".
John Raitt, very simply, changed Broadway history.