#TwoForTuesday: Rodgers and Hammerstein

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Lorenz Hart, who had suffered from depression, self-medicated with alcohol, and by the 1940’s he was drinking more heavily and would go missing for days at a time. His songwriting partnership with Richard Rodgers ended in 1943, though the two of them teamed up on a revival of A Connecticut Yankee late that year. Hart again went missing the night of the premiere, and was found ill with pneumonia in a hotel two days later. He was taken to the hospital, but died on November 22.

Rodgers, irritated with his erstwhile partner’s drinking and erratic behavior, teamed up with Oscar Hammerstein II in 1943 and together wrote the musical Oklahoma!. Hammerstein was already a seasoned songwriter and collaborator, having worked with Rudolf Friml (Rose-Marie), Sigmund Romberg (The Desert Song, The New Moon), and Jerome Kern (Sunny, Show Boat, Sweet Adeline, and Very Warm For May, which included the standard classic “All The Things You Are”), and he and Rodgers worked together until his death in 1960. They’re considered the greatest musical theater partnership. They wrote twelve shows together, including Carousel, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, and The King and I.

Our first song today is “I Enjoy Being A Girl,” sung by Nancy Kwan, from the 1961 film version of their 1958 musical Flower Drum Song.

Second is “My Favorite Things,” from 1959’s The Sound of Music. It became jazz standard when John Coltrane covered it on his 1962 album of the same name. This is Kelly Clarkson’s cover of the song, from her 2013 Christmas album Wrapped in Red.

Wikipedia, my go-to place for information like this, has a list of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s twelve musicals. Their music is so ubiquitous, I’m sure you’re familiar with at least one of them, and maybe all of them, or at least some of the music from them. That’s your Two for Tuesday, September 22, 2015.

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

10 thoughts on “#TwoForTuesday: Rodgers and Hammerstein”

  1. I remember seeing a movie (or 2 I’m not sure) about Rodgers and Hart and then Rodgers and Hammerstein. Pity about Hart he was good. So, of course, was Hammerstein. We own several DVDs of their shows.

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    1. I saw a show called “America Salutes Richard Rodgers: The Sound of His Music” a number of years ago with Gene Kelly playing Hammerstein and Henry Winkler playing Hart. I think it really showed how the two lyricists were different, but showed their genius as songwriters. I don’t have any DVD’s of their shows, but I watch them whenever they come on TV.

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    1. That was the only one they wrote specifically for television (1957). Remember the guy who played the general on “Major Dad,” Jon Cypher? He was the prince in that production. Obviously it’s been adapted for the stage since then, and there have been several remakes.

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      1. The remake I’m thinking of, and probably the most popular version, was in 1965 with Lesley Ann Warren and Stuart Damon. Stuart Damon later played Alan Quartermaine on General Hospital. I remember watching General Hospital years ago and then seeing Cinderella again and having that smack my head moment…Quartermaine is the prince!

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