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Rogers & Hammerstein - Essay Example

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Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960), successful Colombian personalities in the field of entertainment, together made American musical theater exciting and creative. Rodgers filled the air with notes and Hammerstein spun the words to songs…
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Download file to see previous pages The collaboration between the composer and the writer was the beginning of a musical partnership "for over twenty years and wrote a number of successful musicals-even though Rodgers was a workaholic and Hart was an alcoholic."(Oklahoma, 2005 ).
Hammerstein with his theater and opera inclined paternal family was a stage struck since childhood, which unsurprisingly led him to be a performer and a writer of amateur routines in his freshman. After a year at Columbia Law school he became famous librettist for operettas. Hammerstein had a successful career before beginning his partnership with Rodgers. (Gordon, 1990). With Jerome Kern, they collaborated in "most notably Show Boat (1927), and wrote the book and lyrics for Carmen Jones, the 1943 all-black version of Georges Bizet's opera Carmen" (Remarkable Columbians, 2004).
Rogers was asked by the Theater Guild of New York City in 1940 to compose new musical. Asking Hart to once again work with him, to no avail due to Hart's deteriorating health. He then contacted Hammerstein to whom he already had an acquaintance in their undergraduate lives in Columbian College. This was the beginning of a wonderful and creative workmanship.
Their first collaborative and radical work was in Oklahoma! which became the foundation of the 17-year partnership and "continued through ten other musicals, including one motion picture (State Fair, 1945) and one teleplay (Cinderella, 1957), Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949), The King and I (1951) and The Sound of Music (1959). In all, the duo won 35 Tonys, 15 Oscars, two Grammys, two Pulitzers, and two Emmys." (Remarkable Columbians, 2004).
The Oklahoma! set the stage of sweeping changes for American musical theater. The dynamic duo challenged the current styles of the musical theater. They have ingeniously integrated the elements of drama, music and dance as never before. During this time, musicals' attractions include songs which were usually irrelevant to the story and comedy arranged with little plot. This is how Oklahoma! defined its uniqueness ushering the birth of "a new genre, the musical play, representing a unique fusion of Rodgers' musical comedy and Hammerstein's operetta. A milestone in the development of the American musical, it also marked the beginning of the most successful partnership in Broadway" (Biographies, 2005). This pioneering masterpiece was experimental in its nature. It tried to set new guidelines of entertainment in its fullest. The play effectively intertwined funny musicals and serious types of music. The songs either enhanced the plot or direct the audience to understand the characters. The plot and the music characterized the birth of the musical play. Such twist of interest was made through the fitting of the music to the pre-written words, the effect which is astounding. The music became a tool of emotion and storyline. Not yet done, the team made another hit in 1945 in Carousel with its more dramatic plot. For the second time, audience was arrested by further innovations on the arrangements of the musical play which was unbelievably pleasing entertainment. Among its unusualness, the play started with the whole cast performing a ballet as the orchestra plays, in place of the usual overture before the show begins enchanting the audiences and further redefining the art of the genre. Rodgers and Hammerstein apparently are not ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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