Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein

Biography

Richard Rodgers wrote great songs for Broadway shows with his first lyricist Lorenz Hart; but with his second partner Oscar Hammerstein, he wrote great musicals. Their first outing Oklahoma (1943) was more than a huge success, it was a joyous celebration of Americana. If you are unsettled by singing ranch hands, check out their next work, the darkly beautiful Carousel. South Pacific dealt with racial intolerance, while the effervescent The King and I made a star out of Yul Brynner, who also ruled the screen version with his masculine "I can kick your jock butt" singing and dancing. Another smash hit, The Sound of Music had their weakest score, but at least contained the ever-comforting "My Favorite Things." Rodgers and Hammerstein's strengths in crafting complex, whole works didn't leave them with a large numbers of songs that worked outside of a show's context. Regardless, they set the gold standard for the American musical.
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