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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 - Rodgers and Hammerstein.docx

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Music
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Music 2701A/B
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Music Theatre 2701: Lecture 8: Rodger and Hammerstein (OKLAHOMA! & SOUTH PACIFIC) Musical Comedy and the Musical Play  1930s musical comedy is still produced despite innovations of shows such as Show Boat and Anything Goes  Happy, Farcial, nonsensical musicals still popular o People wanted light and fun musicals  Composers such as Cole Porter and Irving Berlin at heigh of success  Songs from their shows became pop songs of the day – played on the radio  Songs not closely integrated with plots o One hit song comes out of it they’ll grab that song and put it in a different show later Rodgers and Hammerstein  One of twentieth-century musical theatre’s most important writing teams  Musicals bright and happy during the depression time  R + H take musicals back to an art form not just a fun bubbly entertainment.  RICHARD RODGERS: Composer  OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II: Lyricist  34 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards for shows in movies  Collaborations: o Oklahoma! (1943) o Carousel (1945) o South Pacific (1949) o The King and I (1951) o The Sound of Music (1959)  Shared fair success with other people before each other o Rodgers and Hart  Many shows in the 30’s which were popular  Sophisticated, dark, adult themes o Hart fairly tortured depressed soul  Small angry man who drank like crazy  Make Rodgers and Hart working collaboration difficult due to his insane drinking skills  Was a successful but not happy collaboration o Hammerstein a bit older than Rodgers  He was more of an operetta lyricist  Collaborated with a bunch of big operetta composers  More of a sentimental type of aesthetic  Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) o Born in Queens, New York to a prosperous family o Educated at Columbia University (as was Oscar Hammerstein II)  Studying law then decided to be a composer o Dad prominent physician (education and wealth in his family). o Studied composition at the Institute of Musical Arts – later known ad Juilliard o Best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II  Helped put on camp shows at a camp o Rodgers is one of only two persons to have won an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy, a Tony Award, and a Pulitzer Prize  Other person to do this was Marvin Hamlish o His daughter Mary is a musical theatre composer who has worked with Stephen Sondheim, and wrote the show “Once Upon a Mattress.” o His grandson Adam Guettel won Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestration for “The Light in the Pizza”  Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) o Born in New York City o Son of Oscar Hammerstein I – noted theatre/vaudeville impresario (originator of the “pie in the face” routine) and composer  “Pie in the face” originated by him and people loved it o Studied at Columbia University, and began law school there  Quit law school to pursue theatre  Part of the team that put on Columbia shows  Quite musical himself and had quite experience writing music for the piano and wasn’t really his forte o First Broadway show was a collaboration with Otto Harbach o Also worked with operetta composer Sigmund Romberg o Biggest hit pre-Rodgers was Show Boat with Jerome Kern Show #1: Oklahoma! (1943)  First Rodgers and Hammerstein Collaboration  “It was a show, that, like Show Boat, became a milestone, so that later historians writing about important moments in twentieth-century theatre would begin to identify ears according to their relationship to Oklahoma!” o William A. Everett and Paul R. Laird, The Cambridge Companion to the Musical  Based on the stage play “Green Grow the Lilacs” by Lynn Riggs o The Drama League presented it  Talked about how they really wanted to do a musical  Take mandate of Drama League and bring it into musical theatre  Believed you could have a play based on a real topic  Wanting shows to be on American topics  Set in America  Wanted things to be very pro America  Approaching various composers and lyricists  Both Rodgers and Hammerstein wanted to work on show with their respective partners: o Rodgers and Hart’s partnership broke down before they started  Hart wasn’t really interested because it wasn’t his type of show. Hart was very much interested in edgy, griddy music, they had been putting on. o Kern rejected Hammerstein’s offer to work on it  We don’t really know why  Both Rodgers and Hammerstein had been approached separately to put on Grow the Lilacs  Rodgers and Hammerstein met at a party and started talking about this o Didn’t know each other from Columbia, despite they were both there o They knew each other from the theatre community o Both members of certain mens club and got to know each other there. o Thought they might want to work together and gave it a try.  Good working relationship  Interesting relationship  Sometimes Hammerstein would give Rodgers lyrics and say write the music for it and vice-versa. o Not usually the case  Important changes happened during out-of-town tryouts: elimination of second love song, addition of show-stopping tittle song o Took “People will say we’re in love” and did a short reprise of it in the second act o Show was kind of wrapping up by then and didn’t want to introduce a new song o Show ended pretty quietly originally  Musical theatre crowds were enjoying the musicals but they needed something big and exciting at the end so they’d feel like they were going to a Broadway musical.  Added “Oklahoma”  Lots of excitement and harmony  Big showstopper at the end  Originally ran 2212 performances; 4 major Broadway revivals since o Hugely successful show o Double up on casts taking a national tour cast out on the road Groundbreaking  Original cast album which was made with the cast when the show was running for six months o One of the first original cast albums ever made o By the time the national tour came, people knew the music  No huge chorus number to start the show o Quite scene, solo song opener  Combination of legit and belt voices o Not an operetta there were belt voices o Typical 1930, 40 belters o Also legit voices o Legit vs. belter tells us if people are part of the primary love plot or the secondary comic plot o Laurie and Curley have the legit sounding classical voices o Ado Annie and Will have the belt voices (part of the comic plot)  Formula after “Oklahoma!”Pair of primary love interest  Use of regional American dialects and vernacular language  Fully integrated, plot-advancing dance; important of the choreographer as a story-teller o Square dancing, kicking up heels, clogging o Using ballet (not Oklahoma)  Choreographer was a Ballet Choreographer  The Dream Ballet – Laurie wants to decide who wants to go to the social with (Curley, Judd) and she falls into a dream- like state. Everything going on in her dream happens in a ballet form telling a story through dance for 10-15 minutes at the end of Act I  The entire premise of Oklahoma is as simple as who will Laurie go to the social with o Is she going to go with Curley or Judd?  Laurie and Aunt Eller live on a farm in Oklahoma o People’s territory is about to change and gain newness o Ranchers not thrilled with the fact that farmers are starting to settle the land  Show about nation building o Oklahoma is about to get statehood  Curley Cowboy (lives outside, under the stars, out in nature looking after the cows)  Jud Frylives in the smokehouse (talked about being really grimy, lives where meat is hung to smoke, basically surrounded by death) o Decorates smokehouse with “French post cards” o When Curley visits Judd, Curley is like “Ahh, my eyes”, Judd is like “It’s just naked woman” o Contrast between sleezy guy and nature loving cowboy  Story is very simple o Laurie goes to social with Curley o Judd gets angry, threatens her, Laurie fires him, Curley and Laurie live happily ever after. SONG: OH, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING  Sung by Curly  Unusual opening number for a musical o Solo, with only one other person on stage o Subtle, quite opening o Evocative mood  Early Americana feel  Orchestration: Chirpy sounds, trills in the flute o Sounds like prairie just waking up  Aunt Eller churning better and Curley sings this lovely song SONG: SURREY WITH THE FRINGE  Curley comes to tell Laurie about the wonderful buggie that he wants to drive her to social with  Called a “vision song” o Curley painting a picture of this beautiful surrey. o Laurie gets so caught up in this vision, beomces carried away  Sung by Laurey, Curley, and Aunt Eller  Musical underscoring during dialogue o Rodgers an
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