Rodgers and Hammerstein

Rodgers and Hammerstein

by Ethan Mordden
     
 

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Now in paperback, this profusely illustrated volume celebrates the legendary collaboration of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Filled with original performance photographs, set and costume designs, backstage candids, and lively anecdotes, the book covers the team's complete works including Oklahoma!, State Fair, Carousel, South Pacific, Flower Drum Song, and… See more details below

Overview

Now in paperback, this profusely illustrated volume celebrates the legendary collaboration of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Filled with original performance photographs, set and costume designs, backstage candids, and lively anecdotes, the book covers the team's complete works including Oklahoma!, State Fair, Carousel, South Pacific, Flower Drum Song, and The Sound of Music. Ethan Mordden analyzes every one of the shows-detailing the plots, exploring the musical and lyrical ideas, and examining casting and directing choices. Rodgers & Hammerstein is an essential work in the history of American musical theater.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Beginning with the 1943 premiere of Oklahoma! , the collaboration of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II--the former's music, the latter's lyrics--epitomized the Broadway musical for nearly two decades. In this handsome book, New Yorker writer and prolific author Mordden ( Opera in the Twentieth Century , The Hollywood Studios , etc.) comprehensively surveys the duo's artistic achievements, from such much-loved works as The King and I and The Sound of Music to lesser-known shows like Allegro and Pipe Dream . He analyzes each musical's plot, details directorial and casting procedures, recounts anecdotes from Stephen Sondheim, Mary Martin and other Broadway notables. More than 200 backstage and promotional photographs, 67 in color, help make this volume an irresistible treat for those nostalgically drawn to the brightest moments in American musical theater history. Fireside Theatre Book Club and Movie/Entertainment Book Club alternates. ( Nov. )
Ray Olson
Next year will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the premiere of "Oklahoma!" so this splendid artbook on that quintessential musical's creators is certainly timely. One of the best books ever on any aspect of American musical theater, it reads as good as it looks. Mordden has written several annoyingly gossipy theater, movie, and opera tomes, but here he's on his best behavior. He writes with deep elan, informing his opinions of the Rodgers and Hammerstein shows with genuine knowledge and insightful analysis. Each chapter not only accounts for the development, presentation, and impact of one of R&H's 11 collaborations; it advances an argument: for "Carousel" as the team's finest achievement; for the forgotten "Allegro" as progenitor of the concept musical--i.e., "Fiddler on the Roof", "Cabaret", "Follies", and their ilk; for the failure of the Steinbeck adaptation, "Pipe Dream", being the result of the clash between "disorderly conduct along Cannery Row" and the fact that "An R&H show is a logical piece of work"; etc. Moreover, Mordden's overarching argument that R&H strove constantly to break the rules of American musical theater in order to bring "the musical, a fantasy form . . . close not to what life is like but what life is about" is spellbinding. Despite the inevitable tiny errors--most embarrassingly, the misassignment of Rodgers' movie musical, "Love Me Tonight", to director Ernst Lubitsch rather than Rouben Mamoulian, who, using concepts reprised from that film, later first directed both "Oklahoma!" and "Carousel"--this is a wonderful book.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810915671
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
02/29/2000
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
9.84(w) x 12.99(h) x (d)

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