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BWW Review: AN EVENING WITH RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN at Musical Theater Heritage

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A steaming video presentation

The COVID-19 pandemic has closed down most live performance in Kansas City and in the nation, but fans of Musical Theater Heritage are in for a treat with a new, locally conceived and performed streaming revue featuring the iconic music of "Rodgers and Hammerstein. The one hour, twelve minute production is written and hosted by Musical Theater Heritage Executive Artistic Director Tim Scott.

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II created musical theater as we now know it with their 1943 smash production of "Oklahoma." "Oklahoma" was a revolution. It was the first musical show where the musical score and lyrics advanced the storyline of the play. Characters became much more complex and the story more layered. Previous musicals featured strung together plots to support independently written popular songs. Based on an earlier non-musical play, "Oklahoma" set the template for musical theater for the next seventy-five years.

This MTH production uses parts of the finished scenic design from the Covid cancelled production of "Carousel" originally scheduled for last spring. It is excellently videoed and sound engineered on the internet Vimeo platform. Each ticket holder will receive an Internet URL location and a time limited password. The show can be viewed via your streaming television, on computers, on tablets, or even on smart phones.

BWW Review: AN EVENING WITH RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN at Musical Theater Heritage
Gabriela Delano

Both Rodgers and Hammerstein had spent decades as independent composers and playwrights either independently or with other writing partners. Oscar Hammerstein was best known for his collaboration with Jerome Kern for "Showboat." Richard Rodgers had been teamed with Lorenz Hart in many shows including "Pal Joey," "Babes in Arms," and others, but Hart's progressive alcoholic addictions forced Rodgers to seek a new partner in the early 1940s.

Over a relatively, very few years, Rodgers and Hammerstein were incredibly productive. In their first decade of partnership alone, they created six earth shaking musical plays and one motion picture including "Oklahoma," "Carousel," "State Farm," "South Pacific," and the "The King and I."

BWW Review: AN EVENING WITH RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN at Musical Theater Heritage
Molly Hammer

The MTH production of "An Evening With Rodgers and Hammerstein" features Scott, Gabriela Delano, Krista Eyler, Molly Hammer, Patrick Lewallen, and Robert McNichols with single number appearances by Lauren Braton, Colin Frederick, Seth Golay, Allison Jones, and Ava Wichser. Musical Director Anthony T. Edwards leads a four piece combo accompanying the singers and dancers.

"An Evening with Rodgers and Hammerstein" is a very nice break from old Hollywood firms and TV series with talented local performers in the leading roles. Electronic tickets are available on the Musical Theatre Heritage website at www.musicaltheaterheritage.com. Performances begin on Thursday, September 3 and will run for a week ending Thursday, September 13.



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From This Author Alan Portner