Five For Friday: Rodgers & Hammerstein

Both Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were working with different partners when each came up with the idea of turning Lynn Riggs’s stage play Green Grow The Lilacs into a musical. Lorenz Hart, Rodgers’s collaborator, was sinking further into alcoholism, while Hammerstein’s collaborator, Jerome Kern, showed no interest in developing the idea. So Rodgers and Hammerstein decided to team up and get the show written. The result was 1943’s Oklahoma!. Wikipedia tells us "Although not the first musical to tell a story of emotional depth and psychological complexity, Oklahoma! introduced a number of new storytelling elements and techniques. These included its use of song and dance to convey and advance both plot and character, rather than act as a diversion from the story, and the firm integration of every song into the plot-line."

Rodgers and Hammerstein collaborated on eleven musicals. Here are five songs from the more popular ones.

  1. "Edelweiss" (The Sound Of Music)
  2. "I Whistle A Happy Tune" (The King And I)
  3. "Some Enchanted Evening" (South Pacific)
  4. "If I Loved You" (Carousel)
  5. "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top" (Oklahoma!)

Rodgers and Hammerstein also injected a modicum of social justice into their musicals. As Wikipedia tells us, "While Rodgers and Hammerstein’s work contains cheerful and often uplifting songs, they departed from the comic and sentimental tone of early 20th century musicals by seriously addressing issues such as racism, sexism and classism in many of their works. For example, Carousel concerns domestic violence, while South Pacific addresses racism. Based on the true story of the von Trapp family, The Sound of Music explores the views of Austrians on the takeover of Austria by Nazi Germany."

Rodgers & Hammerstein, your Five For Friday, December 9, 2022.

19 thoughts on “Five For Friday: Rodgers & Hammerstein

  1. Love Rogers & Hammerstein! I watched Oklahoma, South Pacific, Carousel, everytime it was playing on PBS( pledge drive). I loved and still love Some Enchanted Evening. Mitzi Gaynor is still alive too. I think Enzio Pinza may have been the singer for Rosanno Brazzi. I know he was in the original Broadway version with Mary Martin. Carousel was not my favourite but I loved the songs especially ” You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
    The King And I was my dad’s favourite. You would think it would be a western or a war film but it was this film with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr. Marni Nixon was her singing voice. Funny, the ” Getting to Know You” song is one I always think of when dogs stiff each other’s butts.
    I love this rendition of Edelweiss which often gets cut from the film to allow gor more commercials. It soft, delicate and sweet.


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