All tagged Richard Rodgers
Rodgers and Hammerstein changed the face of musical theatre with their groundbreaking Oklahoma! in 1943, and followed it up with their masterpiece Carousel in 1945. Both were big hits in their day, but more importantly, they secured the duo as the most influential composing team of the 1940s, with their structure and style carrying well into the 1960s and inspiring others to write musicals in a similar vein. With the security of ticket sales bolstering their future, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s next musical would be a bold step, an experiment that would stretch the form of Broadway musicals in a way that was decades ahead of its time. That was the 1947 musical Allegro.
Rodgers and Hart musicals always included a delicious sense of fun and their 1938 comedy The Boys from Syracuse was no exception. Based on William Shakespeare’s 1594 play (his shortest) The Comedy of Errors, The Boys from Syracuse features one of Rodgers and Hart’s most-enduring score with such gems as “Falling in Love with Love,” “Sing for Your Supper,” “This Can’t Be Love” and “What Do You Do with a Man” as standouts.
The composing team of Rodgers and Hart had a reputation for putting together fun and witty musical comedies. Rodgers’ music sparkled with infectious melody while Hart’s lyrics were clever and bursting with wild use of rhyme. It wasn’t until their 1940 collaboration of the musical Pal Joey that the team ventured into edgier territory. Based on John O’Hara’s series of short stories that were published in The New Yorker, Pal Joey is both the crowning achievement of the duo’s partnership and a benchmark in advancement of serious musical theatre storytelling.
With the forthcoming revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Carousel set to open, I thought it would be fun to look back on the controversial gem from 1945. Based on the popular Ferenc Molnar play Liliom, but transposed from its original Hungarian setting to a New England fishing village in the United States, Carousel tells the story of factory worker Julie Jordan, a stubborn young woman who falls in love with a handsome, but troubled, carousel barker with a traveling carnival.