The Rodgers and Hammerstein Encyclopedia

The Rodgers and Hammerstein Encyclopedia

The Rodgers and Hammerstein Encyclopedia

The Rodgers and Hammerstein Encyclopedia

Synopsis

Still the most influential and popular songwriting team in the history of the American Musical Theatre, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein represent Broadway musicals at their finest. The team revolutionized the musical play with Oklahoma! in 1943 and then went on to explore territory never put on the musical stage before in such beloved shows as Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music. The team also worked in film, as with State Fair, and in the new medium of television, with Cinderella. For the first time, the lives, careers, works, songs, and themes of Rodgers and Hammerstein have been gathered together in an encyclopedia that covers the many talents of these men. In addition to their plays and films together, every work that each man did with other collaborators is also discussed. Hundreds of their songs are described, and there are entries on the many actors, directors, and other creative artists who they worked with. A complete list of awards, recordings, and books about the team are included, as well as a chronology of everything either man wrote. But The Rodgers and Hammerstein Encyclopedia is not just about facts. It explains their work, explores themes in their musicals, and illustrates why they remain a driving force in the American Theatre.

Excerpt

Not too many years ago, I concluded the introductory class to my American Musical Theatre course only to have a student come up to me afterward and bluntly ask, “Who is this Roger Hammerstein that you keep talking about?” I admit I do talk a bit fast on the first day of class and, to someone not at all familiar with Broadway’s most famous collaboration, it may indeed have sounded like a certain fellow named Roger Hammerstein was getting a lot of attention on that first day. Yet, in some ways, the student was correct. We are so used to the phrase “Rodgers and Hammerstein” that it seems like one word: Rodgersandhammerstein. I was struck by what the student asked, not because the beloved songwriters were unknown to him; all teachers learn not to be surprised what students do and do not know about things so familiar to us. Rather, I was taken aback because I sometimes do think of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein as one unit, a single force, a one-man revolution, and a sole person who might as well be named Roger Hammerstein. Those familiar with the history of the American theatre know that 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.

This encyclopedic look at R&H (as I sometimes refer to them throughout the book for the sake of convenience) hopes to thoroughly cover three amazing careers: that of Oscar Hammerstein and his many collaborators before 1943, of the teaming of Rodgers with Lorenz Hart (before Hammerstein) and with others (after Hammerstein), and of the works of R&H together. Not only are all stage, film, and television projects included, but various performers, songwriters, librettists, and other artists who worked with either man are covered as well. Also to be found in the alphabetical entries are topics, theatre playhouses, and organizations that played an important part in Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s careers, and the descriptions of 231 major songs they wrote together or with others. (For cross-referencing purposes, all people, titles, songs, organizations, and playhouses which have their own entry are indicated by boldface throughout the book.) in the appendices can be found lists of awards and . . .

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