Rodgers at the St. James Theatre in 1948
|Birth name||Richard Charles Rodgers|
|Born||June 28, 1902|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||December 30, 1979 77) (aged|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Composer, songwriter, playwright|
Richard Charles Rodgers (June 28, 1902 – December 30, 1979) was an American composer of music, with over 900 songs and 43 Broadway musicals, leaving a legacy as one of the most significant composers of 20th century American music. He is best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. His compositions have had a significant impact on popular music.
Musical composition, or simply composition, can refer to an original piece or work of music, either vocal or instrumental, the structure of a musical piece, or to the process of creating or writing a new piece of music. People who create new compositions are called composers. Composers of primarily songs are usually called songwriters; with songs, the person who writes lyrics for a song is the lyricist. In many cultures, including Western classical music, the act of composing typically includes the creation of music notation, such as a sheet music "score," which is then performed by the composer or by other instrumental musicians or singers. In popular music and traditional music, songwriting may involve the creation of a basic outline of the song, called the lead sheet, which sets out the melody, lyrics and chord progression. In classical music, orchestration is typically done by the composer, but in musical theatre and in pop music, songwriters may hire an arranger to do the orchestration. In some cases, a pop or traditional songwriter may not use written notation at all, and instead compose the song in their mind and then play, sing and/or record it from memory. In jazz and popular music, notable sound recordings by influential performers are given the weight that written or printed scores play in classical music.
Broadway theatre, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.
A lyricist or lyrist is a person who writes lyrics—words for songs—as opposed to a composer, who writes the song's melody.
Rodgers was the first person to win what are considered the top American entertainment awards in television, recording, movies and Broadway – an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award — now known collectively as an EGOT. In addition, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, making him one of only two people to receive all five awards (Marvin Hamlisch is the other).
An Emmy Award, or simply Emmy, is an American award that recognizes excellence in the television industry, and is the equivalent of an Academy Award, the Tony Award, and the Grammy Award.
A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, more commonly known as the Tony Award, recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in Manhattan. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances, and an award is given for regional theatre. Several discretionary non-competitive awards are also given, including a Special Tony Award, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award. The awards are named after Antoinette "Tony" Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.
Born into a prosperous German Jewish family in Arverne, Queens, New York City, Rodgers was the son of Mamie (Levy) and Dr. William Abrahams Rodgers, a prominent physician who had changed the family name from Abrahams. Richard began playing the piano at age six. He attended P.S. 166, Townsend Harris Hall and DeWitt Clinton High School. Rodgers spent his early teenage summers in Camp Wigwam (Waterford, Maine) where he composed some of his first songs.
Arverne is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens, on the Rockaway Peninsula. It was initially developed by Remington Vernam, whose signature "R. Vernam" inspired the name of the neighborhood. Arverne extends from Beach 56th Street to Beach 79th Street, along its main thoroughfare Beach Channel Drive, alternatively known as Rev. Joseph H. May Drive. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 14.
DeWitt Clinton High School is a public high school located since 1929 in The Bronx, New York, United States. Opened in 1897 in Lower Manhattan and initially operated as an all-boys school, it maintained that status for nearly 100 years. In 1983 it became co-ed. From its original building on West 13th Street in Manhattan, it moved in 1906 to its second home on 59th Street and Tenth Avenue. In 1929 the school moved to its present home on Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx.
Waterford is a town in Oxford County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,553 at the 2010 census. It is a recreation area noted for historic architecture and scenic beauty.
Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, and later collaborator Oscar Hammerstein II all attended Columbia University. At Columbia, Rodgers joined the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity. In 1921, Rodgers shifted his studies to the Institute of Musical Art (now the Juilliard School).Rodgers was influenced by composers such as Victor Herbert and Jerome Kern, as well as by the operettas his parents took him to see on Broadway when he was a child.
Lorenz Milton Hart was the lyricist half of the Broadway songwriting team Rodgers and Hart. Some of his more famous lyrics include "Blue Moon," "Mountain Greenery," "The Lady Is a Tramp," "Manhattan," "Where or When," "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," "Falling in Love with Love," "Have You Met Miss Jones?," "My Funny Valentine," "I Could Write a Book", "This Can't Be Love", "With a Song in My Heart", "It Never Entered My Mind", and "Isn't It Romantic?".
Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein II was an American librettist, theatrical producer, and theatre director of musicals for almost 40 years. He won eight Tony Awards and two Academy Awards for Best Original Song. Many of his songs are standard repertoire for vocalists and jazz musicians. He co-wrote 850 songs.
Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in Upper Manhattan, New York City. Established in 1754, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. It has been ranked by numerous major education publications as among the top ten universities in the world.
In 1919, Richard met Lorenz Hart, thanks to Phillip Leavitt, a friend of Richard's older brother. Rodgers and Hart struggled for years in the field of musical comedy, writing several amateur shows. They made their professional debut with the song "Any Old Place With You", featured in the 1919 Broadway musical comedy A Lonely Romeo. Their first professional production was the 1920 Poor Little Ritz Girl , which also had music by Sigmund Romberg. Their next professional show, The Melody Man, did not premiere until 1924.
Rodgers and Hart were an American songwriting partnership between composer Richard Rodgers (1902–1979) and the lyricist Lorenz Hart (1895–1943). They worked together on 28 stage musicals and more than 500 songs from 1919 until Hart's death in 1943.
Poor Little Ritz Girl is a musical comedy in two acts, with book by George Campbell and Lew Fields. The show had some songs with lyrics by Alex Gerber and music by Sigmund Romberg and other songs with lyrics by Lorenz Hart and music by Richard Rodgers. The show was produced by Lew Fields at the Central Theatre. It opened on July 28, 1920. The program for the production can be seen in Wikimedia Commons at Poor Little Ritz Girl.
Sigmund Romberg was a Hungarian-born American composer. He is best known for his musicals and operettas, particularly The Student Prince (1924), The Desert Song (1926) and The New Moon (1928).
When he was just out of college Rodgers worked as musical director for Lew Fields. Among the stars he accompanied were Nora Bayes and Fred Allen.Rodgers was considering quitting show business altogether to sell children's underwear, when he and Hart finally broke through in 1925. They wrote the songs for a benefit show presented by the prestigious Theatre Guild, called The Garrick Gaieties , and the critics found the show fresh and delightful. Only meant to run one day, the Guild knew they had a success and allowed it to re-open later. The show's biggest hit — the song that Rodgers believed "made" Rodgers and Hart — was "Manhattan". The two were now a Broadway songwriting force.
Lew Fields, born as Moses Schoenfeld, was an American actor, comedian, vaudeville star, theatre manager, and producer.
Nora Bayes was an American singer, comedian, actress and vaudeville star of the early 20th century.
John Florence Sullivan, known professionally as Fred Allen, was an American comedian. His absurdist, topically pointed radio program The Fred Allen Show (1932–1949) made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the Golden Age of American radio.
Throughout the rest of the decade, the duo wrote several hit shows for both Broadway and London, including Dearest Enemy (1925), The Girl Friend (1926), Peggy-Ann (1926), A Connecticut Yankee (1927), and Present Arms (1928). Their 1920s shows produced standards such as "Here in My Arms", "Mountain Greenery", "Blue Room", "My Heart Stood Still" and "You Took Advantage of Me".
With the Depression in full swing during the first half of the 1930s, the team sought greener pastures in Hollywood. The hardworking Rodgers later regretted these relatively fallow years, but he and Hart did write some classic songs and film scores while out west, including Love Me Tonight (1932) (directed by Rouben Mamoulian, who would later direct Rodgers's Oklahoma! on Broadway), which introduced three standards: "Lover", "Mimi", and "Isn't It Romantic?". Rodgers also wrote a melody for which Hart wrote three consecutive lyrics which either were cut, not recorded or not a hit. The fourth lyric resulted in one of their most famous songs, "Blue Moon". Other film work includes the scores to The Phantom President (1932), starring George M. Cohan, Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (1933), starring Al Jolson, and, in a quick return after having left Hollywood, Mississippi (1935), starring Bing Crosby and W.C. Fields.
In 1935, they returned to Broadway and wrote an almost unbroken string of hit shows that ended only with Hart's death in 1943. Among the most notable are Jumbo (1935), On Your Toes (1936, which included the ballet "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue", choreographed by George Balanchine), Babes in Arms (1937), I Married an Angel (1938), The Boys from Syracuse (1938), Pal Joey (1940), and their last original work, By Jupiter (1942). Rodgers also contributed to the book on several of these shows.
Many of the songs from these shows are still sung and remembered, including "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World", "My Romance", "Little Girl Blue", "I'll Tell the Man in the Street", "There's a Small Hotel", "Where or When", "My Funny Valentine", "The Lady Is a Tramp", "Falling in Love with Love", "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", and "Wait till You See Her".
In 1939, he wrote the ballet Ghost Town for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, with choreography by Marc Platoff.
Rodgers' partnership with Hart began having problems because of the lyricist's unreliability and declining health. Rodgers began working with Oscar Hammerstein II, with whom he had previously written songs (before ever working with Lorenz Hart). Their first musical, the groundbreaking hit Oklahoma! (1943), marked the beginning of the most successful partnership in American musical theatre history. Their work revolutionized the musical form. What was once a collection of songs, dances and comic turns held together by a tenuous plot became a fully integrated piece.
The team went on to create four more hits that are among the most popular in musical history. Each was made into a successful film: Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949, winner of the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), The King and I (1951), and The Sound of Music (1959). Other shows include the minor hit Flower Drum Song (1958), as well as relative failures Allegro (1947), Me and Juliet (1953), and Pipe Dream (1955). They also wrote the score to the film State Fair (1945) (which was remade in 1962 with Pat Boone) and a special TV musical of Cinderella (1957).
Their collaboration produced many well-known songs, including "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'", "People Will Say We're in Love", "Oklahoma" (which also became the state song of Oklahoma), "It's A Grand Night For Singing", "If I Loved You", "You'll Never Walk Alone", "It Might as Well Be Spring", "Some Enchanted Evening", "Getting to Know You", "My Favorite Things", "The Sound of Music", "Sixteen Going on Seventeen", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", "Do-Re-Mi", and "Edelweiss", Hammerstein's last song.
Much of Rodgers' work with both Hart and Hammerstein was orchestrated by Robert Russell Bennett. Rodgers composed twelve themes, which Bennett used in preparing the orchestra score for the 26-episode World War II television documentary Victory at Sea (1952–53). This NBC production pioneered the "compilation documentary"—programming based on pre-existing footage — and was eventually broadcast in dozens of countries. The melody of the popular song "No Other Love" was later taken from the Victory at Sea theme entitled "Beneath the Southern Cross". Rodgers won an Emmy for the music for the ABC documentary Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years , scored by Eddie Sauter, Hershy Kay, and Robert Emmett Dolan. Rodgers composed the theme music, "March of the Clowns", for the 1963–64 television series The Greatest Show on Earth , which ran for 30 episodes. He also contributed the main-title theme for the 1963–64 historical anthology television series The Great Adventure.
In 1950, Rodgers and Hammerstein received The Hundred Year Association of New York's Gold Medal Award "in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York." Rodgers, Hammerstein, and Joshua Logan won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for South Pacific.Rodgers and Hammerstein had won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for Oklahoma!.
In 1954, Rodgers conducted the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in excerpts from Victory at Sea, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue and the Carousel Waltz for a special LP released by Columbia Records.
Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals earned a total of 37 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, two Grammy Awards, and two Emmy Awards.
After Hammerstein's death in 1960, Rodgers wrote both words and music for his first new Broadway project No Strings (1962, which earned two Tony Awards). The show was a minor hit and featured the song, "The Sweetest Sounds".
Rodgers also wrote both the words and music for two new songs used in the film version of The Sound of Music. (Other songs in that film were from Rodgers and Hammerstein.)
Rodgers went on to work with lyricists: Stephen Sondheim ( Do I Hear a Waltz? ) who was a protégé of Hammerstein, Martin Charnin ( Two by Two, I Remember Mama ) and Sheldon Harnick ( Rex ).
At its 1978 commencement ceremonies, Barnard College awarded Rodgers its highest honor, the Barnard Medal of Distinction.
Rodgers was an honoree at the first Kennedy Center Honors in 1978.
At the 1979 Tony Awards ceremony—six months before his death—Rodgers was presented the Lawrence Langner Memorial Award for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement in the American Theatre.
Rodgers died in 1979, aged 77, after surviving cancer of the jaw, a heart attack, and a laryngectomy. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered at sea.
In 1990, the 46th Street Theatre was renamed the Richard Rodgers Theatre in his memory. In 1999, Rodgers and Hart were each commemorated on United States postage stamps. In 2002, the centennial year of Rodgers' birth was celebrated worldwide with books, retrospectives, performances, new recordings of his music, and a Broadway revival of Oklahoma!. The BBC Proms that year devoted an entire evening to Rodgers' music, including a concert performance of Oklahoma! The Boston Pops Orchestra released a new CD that year in tribute to Rodgers, entitled My Favorite Things: A Richard Rodgers Celebration.
Alec Wilder wrote the following about Rodgers:
Of all the writers whose songs are considered and examined in this book, those of Rodgers show the highest degree of consistent excellence, inventiveness, and sophistication ... [A]fter spending weeks playing his songs, I am more than impressed and respectful: I am astonished.
Rodgers is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Along with the Academy of Arts and Letters, Rodgers also started and endowed an award for non-established musical theater composers to produce new productions either by way of full productions or staged readings. It is the only award for which the Academy of Arts and Letters accepts applications and is presented every year. Below are the previous winners of the award:
|2018||Gun and Powder||Ross Baum|
|2017||What I Learned from People||Will Aronson|
|2016||We Live in Cairo||Patrick Lazour|
|Costs of Living||Timothy Huang|
|2014||Witness Uganda||Matthew Gould|
|2013||Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812||Dave Malloy|
|The Kid Who Would Be Pope||Tom Megan|
|2012||Witness Uganda||Matthew Gould|
|2010||Buddy's Tavern||Raymond De Felitta|
|Alison Louise Hubbard|
|Rocket Science||Patricia Cotter|
|2009||Cheer Wars||Karlan Judd|
|Rosa Parks||Scott Ethier|
|2008||Alive at Ten||Kirsten A. Guenther|
|Ryan Scott Oliver|
|See Rock City and Other Destinations||Brad Alexander|
|2007||Calvin Berger||Barry Wyner|
|Main-Travelled Roads||Dave Hudson|
|2006||Grey Gardens||Scott Frankel|
|True Fans||Chris Miller|
|Yellow Wood||Michelle Elliott|
|Dust & Dreams: Celebrating Sandburg||David Hudson|
|2004||To Paint the Earth||Daniel Frederick Levin|
|The Tutor||Andrew Gerle|
|2003||The Devil in the Flesh||Jeffrey Lunden|
|Once Upon a Time in New Jersey||Susan DiLallo|
|Stephen A. Weiner|
|The Tutor||Andrew Gerle|
|2002||The Fabulist||David Spencer|
|The Tutor||Andrew Gerle|
|2001||Heading East||Leon Ko|
|The Spitfire Grill||Fred Alley|
|2000||Bat Boy||Kaythe Farley|
|The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin||Kirsten Childs|
|Suburb||Robert S. Cohen|
|1999||Bat Boy||Kaythe Farley|
|Blood on the Dining Room Floor||Jonathan Sheffer|
|The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin||Kirsten Childs|
|Dream True: My Life with Vernon Dexter||Ricky Ian Gordon|
|The Singing||Lenora Champagne|
|1998||Little Women||Alison Hubbard|
|1997||The Ballad of Little Jo||Mike Reid|
|Barrio Babies||Fernand Rivas|
|The Hidden Sky||Kate Chisholm|
|The Princess & the Blac||Andy Chuckerman|
|1994||Doll (not produced)||Scott Frankel|
|The Gig||Douglas Cohen|
|The Sweet Revenge of ...||Mark Campbell|
|1993||Allos Makar||Scott Frankel|
|Avenue X||John Jiler|
|Christina Alberta's||Polly Pen|
|They Shoot Horses ...||Nagle Jackson|
|1992||Avenue X||John Jiler|
|The Molly Maquires||Sid Cherry|
|1991||Opal||Robert N. Lindsey|
|The Times||Joe Keenan|
|1990||Down the Stream||Michael Goldenberg|
|Swamp Gas and Shallow Feelings||Randy Buck|
|Jack E. Williams|
|1989||Juan Darien||Elliot Goldenthal|
|1988||Lucky Stiff||Lynn Ahrens|
|Sheila Levine is Dead ...||Michael Devon|
|1987||Henry and Ellen||Michael John LaChiusa|
|Lucky Stiff||Lynn Ahrens|
|No Way to Treat A Lady||Douglas J. Cohen|
|1986||Break/Agnes/Eulogy||Michael John LaChiusa|
|1982||Portrait of Jennie||Enid Futterman|
|1981||Child of the Sun||Damien Leake|
|1980||Nine (not produced)||Maro Fratti|
Rosemary Clooney recorded a version of "Falling in Love with Love" by Rodgers, using a swing style. After the recording session Richard Rodgers told her pointedly that it should be sung as a waltz.The 1961 doo-wop arrangement of the Rodgers and Hart song "Blue Moon" by The Marcels so incensed Rodgers that he took out full page newspaper ads urging people not to buy it. His efforts were unsuccessful as it reached #1 on the charts. After Doris Day recorded "I Have Dreamed" in 1961, he wrote to her and her arranger, James Harbert, that theirs was the most beautiful rendition of his song he had ever heard.
After Peggy Lee recorded her version of "Lover", a Rodgers song with a dramatically different arrangement from that originally conceived by him, Rodgers said, "I don't know why Peggy picked on me, she could have fucked up Silent Night".Mary Martin said that Richard Rodgers composed songs for her for South Pacific, knowing she had a small vocal range, and the songs generally made her look her best. She also said that Rodgers and Hammerstein listened to all her suggestions and she worked extremely well with them. Both Rodgers and Hammerstein wanted Doris Day for the lead in the film version of South Pacific and she reportedly wanted the part. They discussed it with her, but after her manager/husband Martin Melcher would not budge on his demand for a high salary for her, the role went to Mitzi Gaynor.
In 1943, Richard Rodgers became the ninth president of the Dramatists Guild of America
In 1930, Rodgers married Dorothy Belle Feiner (1909–92).Their daughter, Mary (1931–2014), was the composer of Once Upon a Mattress and an author of children's books. The Rodgerses later lost a daughter at birth. Another daughter, Linda (1935–2015), also had a brief career as a songwriter. Mary's son and Richard Rodgers's grandson, Adam Guettel (b. 1964), also a musical theatre composer, won Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestrations for The Light in the Piazza in 2005. Peter Melnick (b. 1958), Linda Rodgers's son, is the composer of Adrift In Macao, which debuted at the Philadelphia Theatre Company in 2005 and was produced Off-Broadway in 2007.
Rodgers was an atheist.He was prone to depression and alcohol abuse, and was at one time hospitalized. He was also well known as a serial womanizer.
Carousel is the second musical by the team of Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II. The 1945 work was adapted from Ferenc Molnár's 1909 play Liliom, transplanting its Budapest setting to the Maine coastline. The story revolves around carousel barker Billy Bigelow, whose romance with millworker Julie Jordan comes at the price of both their jobs. He participates in a robbery to provide for Julie and their unborn child; after it goes tragically wrong, he is given a chance to make things right. A secondary plot line deals with millworker Carrie Pipperidge and her romance with ambitious fisherman Enoch Snow. The show includes the well-known songs "If I Loved You", "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" and "You'll Never Walk Alone". Richard Rodgers later wrote that Carousel was his favorite of all his musicals.
Jerome David Kern was an American composer of musical theatre and popular music. One of the most important American theatre composers of the early 20th century, he wrote more than 700 songs, used in over 100 stage works, including such classics as "Ol' Man River", "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", "A Fine Romance", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "The Song Is You", "All the Things You Are", "The Way You Look Tonight", "Long Ago " and "Who?". He collaborated with many of the leading librettists and lyricists of his era, including George Grossmith Jr., Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse, Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II, Dorothy Fields, Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin and E. Y. Harburg.
Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for more than a half-century of contributions to musical theatre. Sondheim has received an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has been described by Frank Rich of The New York Times as "now the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater". His best-known works as composer and lyricist include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1990), and Passion (1994). He also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959).
Mary Rodgers was an American composer, author and screenwriter.
The King and I is the fifth musical by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based on Margaret Landon's novel, Anna and the King of Siam (1944), which is in turn derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The musical's plot relates the experiences of Anna, a British schoolteacher hired as part of the King's drive to modernize his country. The relationship between the King and Anna is marked by conflict through much of the piece, as well as by a love to which neither can admit. The musical premiered on March 29, 1951, at Broadway's St. James Theatre. It ran for nearly three years, making it the fourth longest-running Broadway musical in history at the time, and has had many tours and revivals.
Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in farm country outside the town of Claremore, Indian Territory, in 1906, it tells the story of farm girl Laurey Williams and her courtship by two rival suitors, cowboy Curly McLain and the sinister and frightening farmhand Jud Fry. A secondary romance concerns cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie.
South Pacific is a musical composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The work premiered in 1949 on Broadway and was an immediate hit, running for 1,925 performances. The plot is based on James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific and combines elements of several of those stories. Rodgers and Hammerstein believed they could write a musical based on Michener's work that would be financially successful and, at the same time, send a strong progressive message on racism.
Rodgers and Hammerstein refers to the duo of composer Richard Rodgers (1902–1979) and lyricist-dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II (1895–1960), who together were an influential, innovative and successful American musical theatre writing team. They created a string of popular Broadway musicals in the 1940s and 1950s, initiating what is considered the "golden age" of musical theatre. Five of their Broadway shows, Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music, were outstanding successes, as was the television broadcast of Cinderella (1957). Of the other four that the team produced on Broadway during their lifetimes, Flower Drum Song was well-received, and none was an outright flop. Most of their shows have received frequent revivals around the world, both professional and amateur. Among the many accolades their shows garnered were thirty-four Tony Awards, fifteen Academy Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and two Grammy Awards.
Flower Drum Song was the eighth musical by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based on the 1957 novel, The Flower Drum Song, by Chinese-American author C. Y. Lee. It premiered on Broadway in 1958 and was then performed in the West End and on tour. It was adapted for a 1961 musical film.
Do I Hear a Waltz? is a musical with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Richard Rodgers, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It was adapted from Laurents' 1952 play The Time of the Cuckoo, which was the basis for the 1955 film Summertime starring Katharine Hepburn.
Sheldon Mayer Harnick is an American lyricist and songwriter best known for his collaborations with composer Jerry Bock on musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof.
"Edelweiss" is a show tune from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. It is named after the edelweiss, a white flower found high in the Alps (Leontopodium alpinum). The song was created for the 1959 Broadway production of The Sound of Music, as a song for the character Captain Georg Ludwig von Trapp. In the musical, Captain von Trapp and his family sing this song during the concert near the end of Act II, as a statement of Austrian patriotism in the face of the pressure put upon him to join the navy of Nazi Germany following the Anschluss. It is also Captain von Trapp's subliminal goodbye to his beloved homeland, using the flower as a symbol of his loyalty to Austria. In the 1965 film adaptation, the song is also sung by the Captain earlier in the film when he rediscovers music with his children.
Martin Charnin is an American lyricist, writer, and theatre director. Charnin's best-known work is as conceiver, director and lyricist of the musical Annie.
Me and Juliet is a musical comedy by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II and their sixth stage collaboration. The work tells a story of romance backstage at a long-running musical: assistant stage manager Larry woos chorus girl Jeanie behind the back of her electrician boyfriend, Bob. Me and Juliet premiered in 1953 and was not considered a success, although it ran for much of a year on Broadway and returned a small profit to its backers.
"Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" is the opening song from the musical Oklahoma!, which premiered on Broadway in 1943. It was written by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The leading male character in Oklahoma!, Curly McLain, sings the song at the beginning of the first scene of the musical. The refrain runs: "Oh, what a beautiful mornin'! / Oh, what a beautiful day! / I've got a beautiful feelin' / Ev'rythin's goin' my way." Curly's "brimming optimism is perfectly captured by Rodgers' ebullient music and Hammerstein's buoyant pastoral lyrics."
Two By Two is a Broadway musical with a book by Peter Stone, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and music by Richard Rodgers.
Pipe Dream is the seventh musical by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II; it premiered on Broadway on November 30, 1955. The work is based on John Steinbeck's short novel Sweet Thursday—Steinbeck wrote the novel, a sequel to Cannery Row, in the hope of having it adapted into a musical. Set in Monterey, California, the musical tells the story of the romance between Doc, a marine biologist, and Suzy, who in the novel is a prostitute; her profession is only alluded to in the stage work. Pipe Dream was a flop and a financial disaster for Rodgers and Hammerstein.