Rodgers and Hart

By | May 17, 2013

Richard Rodgers is perhaps the greatest American musical composer. His greatest fame came with his work with Oscar Hammerstein II and the many musicals they were involved with in the mid 20th Century. The Sound Of Music, Oklahoma, South Pacific and many more.

But Rodgers had been a successful composer long before his work with Hammerstein. In 1919 at the age of 16 me met Lorenz Hart when they worked together to write songs for an amateur club show. Their first broadway show opened on May 17, 1925 at the Garrick Theatre. The show was called the Garrick Gaieties.

Lorenz Hart was born in 1895 to a Jewish German immigrant family in Harlem, New York. To nearly all, but his mother, he was called Larry.

When the motion pictures began to talk in the late 20’s, many broadway performers and writers went to Hollywood. The song writing team of Rodgers and Hart were included in those ranks. It was in Hollywood in 1934 that they wrote Blue Moon.

By 1935, the team was brought back to Broadway by Billy Rose to write the the songs for his production, Jumbo. Between 1936 and 1943 the team worked on 8 musicals among them Babe in Arms and Pal Joey.

The final collaboration between Rodgers and Hart was the revival of their A Connecticut Yankee. The show included six new songs by the team and opened on November 17, 1943. By this time Rodgers had already began working with Hammerstein. Hart had been ill while they worked on the project. He developed pneumonia and died on November 22, 1943.


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