Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Rodgers and Hammerstein, were a well-known American songwriting duo. Created many Broadway musicals in the 1940s and 1950s during the golden age. With Rodgers composing the music and Hammerstein writing the lyrics, five of their shows, Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music, were outstanding successes. They won thirty-four Tony Awards, fifteen Academy Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and two Grammys.

Prior to their partnership, Rodgers had collaborated for more than two decades with Lorenz Hart. Among their many Broadway hits: A Connecticut Yankee (1927), Babes in Arms (1937), The Boys from Syracuse (1938), Pal Joey (1940), and By Jupiter (1942), as well as many successful film projects.

Hammerstein, a co-writer of the popular Rudolf Friml 1924 operetta Rose-Marie, and Sigmund Romberg operettas: The Desert Song (1926) and The New Moon (1928), began a successful collaboration with composer Jerome Kern on Sunny (1925). Their 1927 musical Show Boat is considered to be one of the masterpieces of the American musical theatre. Other Hammerstein/Kern collaborations: Sweet Adeline (1929) and Very Warm for May (1939). It features one of Kern and Hammerstein's best-loved songs, "All the Things You Are". By the early 1940s, Hart became unreliable, prompting Rodgers to team up with Hammerstein.

Rodgers and Hammerstein used the technique of what some call the formula musical. The term formula musical may refer to a musical with a predictable plot, but it also refers to the casting requirements of Rodgers and  Hammerstein characters. Typically, any musical from this team will have the casting of a strong baritone lead, a dainty and light soprano lead, a supporting lead tenor, and a supporting alto lead. Although there are exceptions to this generalization, it gives audiences an idea of what to expect from a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

List of Rodgers and Hammerstein films:

State Fair
South Pacific
The King and I
Flower Drum Song
The Sound of Music

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