VIEWS: 49 PAGES: 12 POSTED ON: 5/11/2011
RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN The dominant team of the Golden Age LEGACY OF THE TEAM Opened 11 musicals between 1943 and 1959 Several were made in feature films or TV movies The major influence on the change from light- hearted comedies and revues to more substantial book musicals Rodgers and Hammerstein have an extremely formulaic structure to their musicals Strong baritone lead Dainty and light soprano lead Supporting tenor and alto Unafraid to deal with social issues Carousel dealt with domestic abuse South Pacific deals with racism The Sound of Music deals with a reaction to Nazism THE SHOWS OF R&H RODGERS BEFORE HAMMERSTEIN Wrote several Broadway and Hollywood musicals with lyricist Lorenz Hart Broke through with the Garrick Gaieties in 1925 Meant to be a 2-night benefit performance for the Theatre Guild, ended up running for over two hundred performances Hit songs written with Hart include: “Isn’t it Romantic?” (Love Me Tonight, 1932) “Blue Moon” “My Funny Valentine” (Babes in Arms, 1937) “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” (Pal Joey, 1940) Hart’s failing health and unreliability helped to lead to the end of the partnership HAMMERSTEIN BEFORE RODGERS Father was the manager for the Varsity Theatre and his grandfather produced several vaudeville shows Quit Columbia Law School in 1917 to pursue theatre Partnered with several composers First show was Always You in 1921 Wrote lyrics to Jerome Kern’s Showboat A NEW STATE OF MUSICAL THEATRE: OKLAHOMA! Based on the play Green Grows the Lilacs Rodgers had intended to work with Hart on the project, while Hammerstein had approached Jerome Kern about doing a musical version of the play Chose to cast singers who could act, rather than the reverse, resulting in no stars in the show Decided to write the lyrics first in order to better integrate the songs into the libretto (a daring idea on Broadway at the time) Choreographer Agnes DeMille fused classical and modern dances and insisted on trained dancers for the ensemble Originally titled Away We Go, but renamed after a chorus piece added during out-of-town previews Given no chance for success at out-of-town tryouts WHAT CHANGED WITH OKLAHOMA! Composers and lyricists had to be dramatists and not just songwriters Dance routines were plot driven rather than diversions Characters became multidimensional First musical to release a full cast recording Released in an album of six 10-inch 78RPM discs Birth of the long-running musical Set a then record of 2,212 performances VIEWING OKLAHOMA! “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!” “Poor Jud is Daid” The Dream Ballet “Oklahoma” CAROUSEL Opened in 1945 and ran for 890 performances Based on a 1909 play Lilom Main issue is the abusive marriage between Julie and Billy Shows the death of a main character, and his presence in the life of his daughter afterwards Choreographed again by Agnes DeMille Viewing: “If I Loved You” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” SOUTH PACIFIC Focused on two relationships: an Army nurse and a French planter, and an army lieutenant and a native Polynesian girl Both relationships cause the Americans to face their inherit racism Second musical to win the Pulitzer Prize Viewing: “Some Enchanted Evening” “There is Nothing Like a Dame” THE KING AND I Opened on 3/29/51 with Yul Brenner and Gertrude Lawrence and ran for 1,246 performances Lawrence succumbed to cancer a year after the show opened Brenner also starred in the 1956 film, the 1977 revival and the 1985 revival, playing the part 4,525 times Features a clash of Eastern and Western cultures The King and Anna have feelings for each other, but do not really show them until near the end Features a dance sequence based on Uncle Tom’s Cabin- replacing the slave holder with an emporer Viewing: “Shall We Dance” “Little House of THE SOUND OF MUSIC Opened on 11/16/59 starring Mary Martin Based on the real life Von Trapp family, who fled from Austria to escape the Nazis Tied for Best Musical with Fiorello! Sweet story masks a condemnation of the “decent” people who did nothing to oppose the Nazis Viewing: “Do-Re-Mi” “Edelweiss”
"Rodgers and Hammerstein"