RICHARD RODGERS AND OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II (Music and Lyrics): After long and highly distinguished careers with other collaborators, Richard Rodgers (composer, 1902-79) and Oscar Hammerstein II (librettist/lyricist, 1895-1960) joined forces in 1943 to create the most successful partnership in the American musical theatre. Prior to his work with Hammerstein, Rodgers collaborated with lyricist Lorenz Hart on a series of musical comedies that epitomized the wit and sophistication of Broadway in its heyday. Among their greatest successes were PAL JOEY, ON YOUR TOES and BABES IN ARMS. Throughout the same era Hammerstein brought new life to the operetta, culminating in the masterpiece, SHOW BOAT (music by Jerome Kern; Carnegie Hall '08). OKLAHOMA!, the first Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, was also the first of a new genre, the musical play, blending Rodgers' musical comedy style with Hammerstein's innovations in operetta. OKLAHOMA! was followed by CAROUSEL, STATE FAIR (film ’45, ’62; Broadway ‘96), ALLEGRO, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE KING AND I, ME AND JULIET, PIPE DREAM, CINDERELLA (television ’57, ’65, ’97; Broadway ‘13), FLOWER DRUM SONG and THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Collectively, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals have earned 35 Tony Awards, 14 Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, two Grammy Awards, and two Emmy Awards.
HOWARD LINDSAY AND RUSSEL CROUSE. (Book): The Lindsay and Crouse partnership stands today as the longest collaboration of any writers in theatrical history, lasting for 32 years. Howard Lindsay was born in 1889 and died in 1968. He became an actor at nineteen and went on to become a successful Broadway playwright and director. Russel Crouse was born in 1893 and died in 1966. After serving in the Navy, he worked on New York newspapers, gaining his first renown through a signed column in the Post. In 1932 he became head of the publicity department for the Theatre Guild and in 1933 wrote his first Broadway show, collaborating with Corey Ford on the musical comedy HOLD YOUR HORSES. From 1934 on, Crouse wrote only with Lindsay. Their hits include THE SOUND OF MUSIC (with a score by Rodgers and Hammerstein); ANYTHING GOES and RED, HOT AND BLUE (with scores by Cole Porter); CALL ME MADAM (score by Irving Berlin); the long-running play LIFE WITH FATHER (which originally starred Lindsay); the Pulitzer Prize winning STATE OF THE UNION; and THE GREAT SEBASTIANS, written for the Lunts. Their producing credits included THE HASTY HEART, DETECTIVE STORY and ARSENIC AND OLD LACE.
ROBERT RUSSELL BENNETT (Orchestrations): Robert Russell Bennett (1894-1981) orchestrated more than 300 Broadway musical scores, including SHOW BOAT, NO, NO, NANETTE, OF THEE I SING, FACE THE MUSIC, OKLAHOMA!, CARMEN JONES, FINIAN'S RAINBOW, KISS ME, KATE, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE KING AND I, MY FAIR LADY and CAMELOT. His arrangements for the 1955 film version of OKLAHOMA! earned him an Academy Award. He also orchestrated and arranged Rodgers' TV documentary score for VICTORY AT SEA. A classically trained composer, Bennett's prolific output of original compositions includes symphonies, sonatas, a ballet, a concerto and an opera. Mr. Bennett was honored with a Special 2008 Tony Award in recognition of his historic contributions to American Musical Theater.
TRUDE RITTMANN (Dance and Vocal Arrangements): Trude Rittmann (1908-2005) amassed more than 50 Broadway credits as a Choral and Dance Arranger including THE SOUND OF MUSIC, THE KING AND I, SOUTH PACIFIC, MY FAIR LADY, CAROUSEL, FINIAN'S RAINBOW, BRIGADOON, PAINT YOUR WAGON and PETER PAN. A composer in her own right, she provided music for such shows as OMNIBUS and SEVEN LIVELY ARTS.