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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread - Page 1



Rodgers & Hammerstein thread- Page 1

bobjohn2
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#1
Posted: 4/6/20 at 8:20pm

I've decided to become familiar with all 11 Rodgers-Hammerstein scores in an all-out binge. Currently, I know what I consider to be the most famous of them all: Oklahoma!, South Pacific and the Sound of Music. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on their catalog. Which scores stand out as being especially inspired, and which ones would you consider relatively second rate? All opinions welcome.

chrishuyen
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#2
Posted: 4/6/20 at 8:50pm

I don't have super extensive knowledge of the R&H catalog, but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts as you work through it.  Carousel is a personal favorite of mine, and I fell in love with the music during this past revival despite the show's problems.  I remember trying to listen to King and I when I was in school but I was bored by it then, so not sure if I'd feel differently now.

Michelle chouraqui
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#3
Posted: 4/6/20 at 10:48pm
I love everything R&H, but funny enough, my absolute favorite is their Cinderella. The score is perfection. I have a DVD of the made-for-tv version with Leslie Ann Warren and Alan Quatermain (from general hospital). And I almost love it more than my children.
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Mr. Wormwood
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#4
Posted: 4/6/20 at 11:34pm

Carousel is my absolute favorite, hands down, as a score and show.

Oklahoma would be second in both categories followed by South Pacific. I've never been a big fan of The King and I and I think The Sound of Music is overrated. Cinderella has its moments.

bear88
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#5
Posted: 4/7/20 at 1:41am

I've been doing the same thing. I watched the movie version of The Sound of Music for the first time in years (still don't love it, but it's got some nice songs). I just watched the London production of The King and I with Kelli O'Hara, and while she was great (as was Na-Young Jeon as Tuptim) - the same production I saw on tour in San Francisco. I appreciated some songs more the second time, but I still grow restless during the long retelling of Uncle Tom's Cabin. And yes, I get the point. In fact, Tuptim's story feels more compelling than the main one.

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dented146
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#6
Posted: 4/7/20 at 2:24am

There is so much to the music of Richard Rogers as well as the meaning and change and inspiration that he and Hammerstein and Hart brought to Broadway for over five decades. Looking at their work from year 20/20 vision is so difficult and almost seems unfair. The songs still carry so much emotion and weight. The melodies linger on, way beyond songs written decades later. Where they say something about society, they say it with more clarity and feeling than almost anything written since. Where they express love and sadness they rip out your heart, and when they want to be clever and be fun, they make it seem so easy and are always right on. 

Even if you take one of their "lesser musicals", let's say Flower Drum Song, you can find song after song which are clever "I Enjoy Being A Girl","Chop Suey" , and "Don't Marry Me". There are also gorgeous melodies always, such as "Love Look Away".

Bobjohn, if you learn the scores of those 11 musicals, you will find very little that is second rate. You will be starting where you should start. You will be starting with the best.

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Fan123
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#7
Posted: 4/7/20 at 3:59am

'Carousel' and 'Oklahoma' are my favourite scores of theirs. Opinions on this will differ, but personally I don't think that the score of 'The King and I' works very well in isolation (no pun intended). The banter between the King and Anna in the book scenes is generally more interesting than the songs IMO. Even 'Shall We Dance?' is not a particularly interesting listen, to me, if you aren't seeing the visual indicators of the URST between the two characters. I would recommend watching the movie or the taped stage show (haven't seen the latter myself) as your first point of reference for that show, if you can.

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joevitus
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#8
Posted: 4/7/20 at 11:08am

Anna's continued use of maxims about "home" in the children's schooling is a particularly clever aspect of the show. Girl's got grit. 

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broadwaybabywannabe2
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#9
Posted: 4/7/20 at 11:32am

Having grown up in the 50's and early 60's, all we sang in high school choruses was R & H songs...but my favorite of all time is THE KING AND I...and i was so happy to see the latest revival at Lincoln Center with Kelli O'Hara, that i actually teared up watching this wonderful production...(actually this was the first time i had seen this musical produced on stage)

and seeing in person on stage the Uncle Tom's ballet was astonishing to me, as it is always my favorite part of the movie THE KING AND I...

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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#10
Posted: 4/7/20 at 11:47am

I have always considered The King & I to be one of those rare exceptions where the book is better than the score, though I do really like the score as well. Altogether, it's one of my favorites. 

South Pacific is a sentimental favorite of mine because it was the first R&H score that I really fell in love with, then years later I was in the show.

But I would say that Carousel is probably my "objective" favorite score in the R&H canon. I don't love it all, but there are moments that are just so sublimely beautiful, and seem to tap into some of the deepest, rawest emotions known to mankind. It took me many listens, and several viewings to really appreciate the the show's depth (and I think that is part of the reason many people take it for face value and find it offensive). That said, I don't think the book is as elegantly constructed as that of The King & I or South Pacific. 

As for their lesser-known scores, I remember finding the score of Pipe Dream pretty charming when I listened to the Encores! cast recording. I also really enjoy the score of Cinderella, but it's understandably not as sophisticated as their major works. Flower Drum Song hasn't left much of an impression on me one way or another in the few times I've listened to the score.

I saw John Doyle's production of Allegro at CSC a few years back. I thought it was absolutely awful. That was probably more to do with John Doyle than R&H, but I wasn't hugely impressed by the material either. 

BwayLB
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#11
Posted: 4/7/20 at 6:18pm
My favorite Rogers and Hanmerstein works are State Fair, Cinderella (OG with Julie Andrews although I saw Brandy’s version first) and Oklahoma!
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#12
Posted: 4/7/20 at 7:06pm

BwayLB said: "My favorite Rogers and Hanmerstein works are State Fair, Cinderella (OG with Julie Andrews although I saw Brandy’s version first) and Oklahoma!"

I actually remember seeing the original CINDERELLA with Julie ANDREWS, and the song "My Own Little Corner" was my go to song that i sang whenever my older brothers were behaving like older brothers do...i escaped to become Cinderella...and yes i was a Broadway Queen way back then too!

BwayLB
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#13
Posted: 4/7/20 at 8:28pm
^ You got good taste
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#14
Posted: 4/8/20 at 11:58am

The five biggies are Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music, no question.  Revivals and regional productions are constant.  I think there are two second tier scores, Cinderella and Flower Drum SongCinderella began as a TV program but has been performed regionally and, finally, on Broadway in 2013.  Many consider the score almost on par with their best (I agree), though the updated book (2013) was a pandering mess.  Flower Drum Song is dated, but the score is still a strong one.

After that, you have three spotty scores: Allegro, Me and Juliet and Pipe Dream.  The shows are forgotten and don't really get revived much (if at all) and the scores, though having an occasionally fine song, are mostly unmemorable.  R&H also wrote the score to the film State Fair in the 1940s, but it's rather bland.

I am a big fan of R&H, and I don't think any of their work should be disregarded because, even when things didn't quite work, they were often trying something new or subject matter that was more challenging.

Updated On: 4/8/20 at 11:58 AM
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#15
Posted: 4/8/20 at 1:52pm

AADA81 said: "The five biggies are Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music, no question. Revivals and regional productions are constant. I think there are two second tier scores, Cinderella and Flower Drum Song. Cinderella began as a TV program but has been performed regionally and, finally, on Broadway in 2013. Many consider the score almost on par with their best (I agree), though the updated book (2013) was a pandering mess. Flower Drum Song is dated, but the score is still a strongone.

After that, you have three spotty scores: Allegro, Me and Juliet and Pipe Dream. The shows are forgotten and don't really get revivedmuch (if at all) and the scores, though having an occasionally fine song, are mostly unmemorable. R&H also wrote the score to the film State Fair in the 1940s, but it's rather bland.

I am a big fan of R&H, and I don't think any of their work should be disregarded because, even when things didn't quite work, they were often trying something new or subject matter that was more challenging.
"

I really love the score to the original movie musical version of State Fair. Don't care for the stage adaptation (which is really an adaptation of the awful 1960's remake). 

Allegro and Pipe Dream vie for worst scores. I find Me and Juliet entertaining as a cast album, though along with basically everyone else in the world, I don't care if the show itself is ever revived again.

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CarlosAlberto
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#16
Posted: 4/8/20 at 2:17pm

...my favorite r&h score is 'the king and i'...

we kiss in a shadow/i have dreamed

hello, young lovers

something wonderful

...truly beautiful songs...

 

degrassifan
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#17
Posted: 4/8/20 at 2:41pm

I love Rodgers and Hammerstein! Their shows are usually my favorites. There's just something so joyful and uplifting about their words and music. My favorites of their shows are The Sound of Music and Cinderella. 

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OlBlueEyes
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#18
Posted: 4/9/20 at 7:34pm

I was a child of the "Golden Age." Well, not so far back as the forties. My father was a sales manager who worked in Manhattan and he wined and dined and theatered customers. My mother got to tag along and they saw many of the original productions. I grew up on Elvis and The Carousel Waltz. 

Being familiar with all the Big Five, I grappled with the problem of the R&H busts: mainly Allegro, Me and Juliet and Pipe Dream. (At least for Flower Drum Song the could roll out "I Enjoy Being a Girl," which might be problematical today, although "How Lovely to be a Woman" from Bye Bye Birdie is in the same vein.)

Question: How could R&H write the musical The King and I, with no less than five songs well known and often covered: "I Whistle a Happy Tune," "Getting to Know You," "Hello Young Lovers," "I Have Dreamed," and "Shall We Dance," (Some might throw in "Something Wonderful," I just don't think it's covered much due to the lyrics), while Pipe Dream, written four years later, did not have even one song that we still hear today? Sondheim had two of his most popular in Merrily, "Not a Day Goes By" and  "Good Thing Going." (Note I didn't say two of his best songs since that might be controversial.)

So when Encores did Pipe Dream about six years ago with a fine cast, at last I got to hear the score from one of those rogue musicals presented with probably better vocalists than in the original. Or at least vocalists with musical experience. 

So here are three songs from Pipe Dream that I think should be keepers.

A one minute clip of "Everybody's Got a Home But Me," a pretty song sung prettily by Laura Osnes.

** Sorry, on the BroadwayWorld App the first two clips don't stop after a minute, the whole clip plays out **

https://www.youtube.com/embed/7rSd3Qh8SR8?start=9&end=62

The musical has a formal love song, "All At Once You Love Her" which was a mild hit for someone. Some say it is a lovely song, but I find it nowhere near the class of "Some Enchanted Evening." I prefer this duet with a clever catch: the couple has formally decided that they didn't work together as a couple and they were parting. But they are immediately second guessing themselves.

In fact, this song has received favorable attention. I believe it was recycled into Flower Drum Song but cut before Broadway. Will Chase and Laura sing "The Next Time it Happens." Also a one minute excerpt.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/I_fe-2voW0Q?start=1&end=62

Lastly we have the catchiest melody ever written by Richard Rodgers. An instant hummer. It's said to be a "Cakewalk" (a stage dance developed from walking steps and figures typically involving a high prance with backward tilt). This is the whole performance by lovely Leslie Uggams as captured in the live recording of the Encores production.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgZpECMKyYI

All of these songs are up on YouTube, as well as quite a bit of rehearsal video.

Updated On: 4/10/20 at 07:34 PM
theatreguy12
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#19
Posted: 4/14/20 at 6:53pm

I got turned on to this thread from one I started comparing State Fair, Flower Drum Song and Meet Me in St. Louis (which I know isn't R&H).  Not sure how I missed this thread, but I'll chime in, I guess.

R&H were just geniuses in my book.  The music was just beautiful, and the lyrics, just so clever and even witty.  Always adding so much to the story.

I grew up listening to Sound of Music, Oklahoma, South Pacific and The King and I the most.   My folks had not only those albums but, of course, Carousel and Flower Drum Song, as well.

Of the first four, I have heard them so many times that I really have to be in the mood to see them as revivals. Not to say I don't still think they're great, and for good reason.  

And I am truly glad to have seen the latest revival of The King and I, though I have to admit, I loved the Donna Murphy revival too a couple of decades ago. And I still think Jose Llana has one of the best versions of "I Have Dreamed" I have ever heard.   I think it was far and away better than the young man who sang the song in the latest Lincoln Center version.  I mean, he wasn't bad; he just didn't have the power or mellifluous sound with which Llana delivered it. 

I saw the revival of Carousel back in the early/mid 90s and I thought it was just great too.  That was the first time I had seen it on the stage, where I had actually seen SOM, SP, TKAI and OK multiple times.   That made it special.  And the way they brought the carousel together at the beginning was just awesome.  With the Carousel Waltz being one of the best R&H songs ever, it was really magical.

Flower Drum Song will always be up there when it comes to my favorite R&H musicals, even if it isn't their most famous or commonly revived.  Some will say it's dated, but I don't care.  Some of the music is just awesome.  And the show itself is witty and a true joy.   It's just too bad that the latest incarnation with Lea Salonga and Jose Llana didn't do it better justice.   In the early 2000s it might have been too outdated to make much of a push on Broadway, even if the show had been closer to its original form, but I still think it deserved a revival.  A splashy revival.   It's such a terrific musical.

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OlBlueEyes
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#20
Posted: 4/15/20 at 1:11am

When did Lea and Jose perform Flower Drum Song? In concert?

Oh, Never MInd. Of course it was up on YouTube. Hey, I know "Love, Look Away" and "A Hundred Million Miracles." All right, because of you I'm going to have to watch this. Is the film any good?  Any recorded theater versions floating around?

One of the comments: "Timeless voice , timeless beauty, timeless talent , perfection world class, living treasure the one and only Filipino pride Lea Salonga my idol.."

When I subscribed to the New York Pops a few years ago at the after performance party I gulped down a few glasses of wine and caught Lea alone at the buffet and I complimented her on the song she had sang unmiked. She doesn't have a big classically trained voice like Audra or Kelli or Kristin, but her smaller voice carried quite well. True she has class. I didn't hang around to wear out my welcome.

So if you're addicted to the Big 5 and a half (FDS), you must have given the Tiny 3 a listen. Any songs to point out? About the only song I know from Allegro and Juliet is "No Other Love," which took its melody from one of the themes that Rodgers wrote for the documentary Victory at Sea on the Navy and WWII.

theatreguy12
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#21
Posted: 4/19/20 at 3:32pm

I'll have to take a look at their others as well, yes!

Glad you were able to find the Salonga/Llana clips online.  

After watching the movie again last night on AmazonPrime, I was doing some searches and found those same clips from the revival which were interesting to see again.  

I even found a production of the revival up on YouTube from AMTSJ out of San Jose, CA.  I didn't watch the whole thing. Only parts of it here and there.   While the performances were actually pretty good, as was the staging, for a local theater company...oh, boy...the plot came back to me again.

Not good.  And not a good representation of the show at all.  It really was torn up a great deal and only a very hollow shell of the original. As another poster on here mentioned, some of the characters are there, in name only.  The music is much the same.  But some of the best characters are gone, leaving out some of the more interesting plot lines.  The charm is lost.  The humor comes off as banal.    And while I love Salonga as a performer, this new characterization comes off as too modern. Which it was meant to be.  But it just doesn't work. 

I thought Miyoshi Umeki was so authentic to the role in its original storyline.  And hers was a beautiful voice too.

The music from FDS will not compare in all cases to many of the rest of the songs in the R&H canon, overall, but it's still a charming show.

Would it be too dated to succeed in its original incarnation nowadays? Maybe. But I would love to see it done anyway, and not in any sort of experimental, tweaked way again.  

I find the movie very charming, highly entertaining and humorous.  Jack Soo was a treasure.  As are Umeki and Juanita Hall.  All three were in the original Broadway cast. As was Patrick Adiarte.

Though Nancy Kwan was dubbed, I still think the better versions of "I Enjoy Being a Girl" and "Grant Avenue" were off the chart great with Pat Suzuki on the OBCR.

Still very enjoyable in the movie though.  

The one song I missed in the movie from the original Broadway production though was "Like a God."  Such a super song. The revival did keep it in and Llana does a great job with it.

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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#22
Posted: 4/20/20 at 2:19am
A tip of the hat to CAROUSEL which opened 75 years ago on Broadway - April 19, 1945.
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#23
Posted: 4/20/20 at 4:25am

I grew up watching the film musicals of Rodgers&Hammerstein -- 

Oklahoma!

Carousel

King & I

South Pacific

Sound Of Music

It was hard to rank them, but for a long time, my favorite was South Pacific, having read the book "Tales of the South Pacific" by James Michener and finding the film adaptation very appealing ( great score and excellent cast, amidst a dramatic background). Of the 5, the least appealing then was Oklahoma! as I found the casting somewhat unexciting and the production seemed so-so.  Carousel seemed a little more poignant.   Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr made "King and I",period!  And of course the appeal of Sound of Music then was universal. Eventually, I was able to get a copy of the book SIX PLAYS OF RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN.

Did I ever see stage revivals?

I saw a long-ago revival at New York State Theatre ( Lincoln Center) with Florence Henderson... and the more recent one at Beaumont of South Pacific - but they could not compare with my original reaction to the film version.

I saw a revival of King and I in London with Elaine Paige - that was forgettable!

Also in London, on a business trip, I learned while I was there that there was a revival of a Rodgers&Hammerstein musical. I was vacillating whether to see it or not - as I thought it was the most boring among my top 5 favorites. But I changed my mind and got a front row mezz ticket( called Dress Circle).   I could not see that well considering where I sat... and I did not know the lead... but he struck me with his commanding stage presence and powerful voice. Later on, I would wait to see him again in another West End musical - but it seems he decided to move even more westward - to Hollywood! Ha! Now I hope ( if things turn out better in the future) to see him as The Music Man!

But I still love the music of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Hey, that guy from Oklahoma! - he can even do a repertory-type portrayals of Emile de Becque, Capt. Von Trapp, even The King of Siam. Of course he has already played Curly on stage and sang Billy in Carousel at Carnegie Hall... But I think he might be too old to be Prince Charming wink

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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#24
Posted: 4/20/20 at 5:07am

Before the show opened in London, this Curly was introduced to London audiences during a tribute concert for Cameron Mackintosh --

 

 

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Rodgers & Hammerstein thread#25
Posted: 4/21/20 at 3:25pm

Thanks for the clip. I saw him do Oklahoma on PBS I think a long time ago, but he has aged well. It's easy to see why he's so popular. I wonder if that performance was miked? His voice very clear.

I can see him as Harold Hill, also.