Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II - Music and Lyrics
After long and highly distinguished careers with other collaborators, Richard Rodgers (composer, 1902-79) and Oscar Hammerstein II (librettist/lyricist, 1895-1960) joined forces in 1943 to create the most successful partnership in the American musical theatre. Prior to his work with Hammerstein, Rodgers collaborated with lyricist Lorenz Hart on a series of musical comedies that epitomized the wit and sophistication of Broadway in its heyday. Among their greatest successes were Pal Joey, On Your Toes and Babes In Arms. Throughout the same era, Hammerstein brought new life to the operetta, culminating in the masterpiece, Show Boat (music by Jerome Kern). Oklahoma!, the first Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, was also the first of a new genre, the musical play, blending Rodgers’ musical comedy style with Hammerstein’s innovations in operetta. Oklahoma! was followed by Carousel, State Fair (film ’45, ’62; Broadway ‘96), Allegro, South Pacific, The King and I, Me and Juliet, Pipe Dream, Cinderella (television ’57, ’65, ’97; Broadway ‘13), Flower Drum Song and The Sound of Music. Collectively, the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals have earned Tonys, Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, Pulitzers and Olivier Awards.