The Harmonious Partnership of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II | ANGLES
At Columbia, Hammerstein met lyricist Lorenz Hart and composer Richard Rodgers. As his passion for theater began to eclipse his interest in. "I hand him a lyric and get out of his way." —Hammerstein on Rodgers "He's a meticulously hard worker and yet he'll roam the grass of his farm for hours and. Oscar Hammerstein was perhaps the most influential lyricist and librettist (writer of It was at Columbia that Oscar first met Richard Rodgers, who would later He discovered that he did not work well under the rigorous time demands of the.
More than million viewers saw the broadcast, and Julie Andrews was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance in the title role. Rodgers stated, "What won us over was the chance to work with Julie. Stage versions were also presented in London and elsewhere, and the musical finally was given a Broadway production, with a revised book by Douglas Carter Beaneand incorporating four songs from the Rodgers and Hammerstein catalogue, in Flower Drum Song[ edit ] Main article: Flower Drum Song Based on a novel by C.
The story deals with a young Chinese woman who illegally comes to America in hopes of marrying a wealthy young Chinese-American man, who is already in love with a Chinatown nightclub dancer.
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The young man's parents are traditional Chinese and want him to marry the new Chinese immigrant, but he is hesitant until he falls in love with her. Though this musical did not achieve the popularity of the team's five most famous musicals, it was nevertheless a success, and broke new ground by using a mostly Asian cast.
The film adaptation was a lavish, but much criticized, Ross Hunter production released by Universal Studios. The Sound of Music[ edit ] Main article: It has been frequently revived ever since. Hammerstein died in Augustbefore the film was made, so when Rodgers was asked to create two new songs for the film "I Have Confidence" and "Something Good"he wrote the lyrics as well as the music.
Early 20th-century musicals, except for the Princess Theatre musicals and a few important examples like Hammerstein and Jerome Kern 's Show Boatwere usually whimsical or farcical, and typically built around a star. Green The thrill they felt working together, right from the start, developed into a passion evident in every subsequent song they created. Taylor describes the difference from musicals that were built around disjointed, stand-alone musical numbers and Oklahoma! Although Show Boat used similar techniques, it was a one-time triumph, and this style of musical was what Rodgers and Hammerstein excelled at.
This technique really emphasized the strengths of Rodgers and Hammerstein, as they let the audience focus on the story and relate to characters, as opposed to just seeing a jumbled plot chopped up by gaudy musical numbers. Years after the opening of Oklahoma! Rodgers was just as incredulous as Hammerstein about Oklahoma!
With mutual support, they had an instant connection, were excited to share new ideas thus bringing forth a friendship which created its own energy and originality, delighting audiences everywhere. The Story of Rodgers and Hammerstein: What happened between Oscar and me was almost chemical. Put the right components together and an explosion takes place. Oscar and I hit it off from the day we started discussing the show. For one thing, I needed a little calm in my life after twenty-three hectic years.
That had never happened to me before 17 Although Rodgers and Hart were extremely successful, Rodgers clearly alludes to the difficulties of his relationship with Hart.
Rodgers was glad to have a less stressful partnership, and suggests that working with Hammerstein was a welcome change. Yet Rodgers still felt loyalty to Hart, a characteristic which he later carried to his partnership with Hammerstein. Rodgers suggested to Hart that they revive A Connecticut Yankee, one of their most notable plays Taylor Rodgers and Hart appeared to be rejuvenated, and they were putting forth every effort to create a masterpiece.
Two days later, a distressed Rodgers found Hart unconscious in his hotel room and, despite being rushed to the hospital, Hart passed away two days after that Taylor This new partnership would be a change for both Rodgers and Hammerstein, a change that would spark all of their true potential.
In fact, Nolan explains why they meshed so well, saying: Both had the same orderly, disciplined approach to what they did. This view allowed them to focus on what was truly important: Yet the entire article concludes by articulating how truly similar Rodgers and Hammerstein were in personality, explaining that they both regarded their partnership as perfect, and that the public agreed with them Swope.
Oscar Hammerstein Biography
With this method, the lyricist can let the words really flow instead of being restricted to the music. Rodgers and Hammerstein used their improved method of writing songs and stories to work towards their goal of changing the musical comedy genre.
It was really important to Hammerstein that people have a faith in the play they are seeing and are able to relate to the plot and the characters. Rodgers and Hammerstein tried to convey this by creating meaningful and powerful songs and stories built around the characters.
They both tried to maintain this philosophy, which Green captures in their conversation: They managed to achieve this goal in every musical they wrote together, giving audiences something that they could connect with and enjoy.
While making choices about when to include chorus girls or where to place noteworthy musical numbers may have seemed quite risky, addressing prejudice during the volatile era leading up to the Civil Rights Movement could have been downright dangerous. They were so united in their belief that the message of this song was imperative to share with audiences, that they refused to remove it, even when politicians in Georgia tried to pass legislation outlawing entertainment addressing these issues Most Their relationship grew as a result of their producing business, and allowed them to be an unstoppable team, culminating with yet another first for the industry when they began writing and producing all of their own shows.
Their growing success allowed them to challenge themselves, learning more and more about the entertainment industry. They ultimately purchased the rights to all of their plays, and even produced the movie versions of their works, starting with, of course, Oklahoma! Their business savvy increased their influence on the industry, although Hammerstein was all too happy to allow Rodgers to manage the business affairs, the one area where their passions diverged.
However, these changes that Rodgers and Hammerstein made would have been impossible without their becoming a pair. Both men were successful before, Rodgers with Hart and Hammerstein with various partners, but neither man reached his true potential until they started working together. In the preface to The Rodgers and Hammerstein Encyclopedia theater professor and author Thomas Hischak explains it well: Rodgersandhammerstein…I sometimes do think of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein as one unit, a single force, a one-man revolution, and a sole person…there was a lot to Hammerstein before Rodgers and there were many musicals by Rodgers before he worked with Hammerstein, yet their astounding collaboration together sometimes blocks that out.
What so often emerges is this powerful, overwhelming whirlwind of talent that is simply Rodgersandhammerstein. Their friendship and synergy lead to mutual support that enabled them to successfully defy traditions and create a new era of musical theater.
Rodgers and Hammerstein
There is no way that Rodgers or Hammerstein could have been as effective or lasting without his other half. With each other, Rodgers and Hammerstein could truly follow every rainbow until they found their dreams, achieving what had previously been impossible, writing music and lyrics that meant something and conveyed powerful stories that have endured through subsequent generations and are still being performed by amateur and professional theater companies all over the world.
Works Cited Ditsky, John. The Rodgers and Hammerstein Story. The John Day Company, The Rodgers and Hammerstein Encyclopedia. A Look at the American Musical Theater.