• Bios Home
Hart, Lorenz

Lorenz Hart was born in New York City on May 2, 1895, the oldest of two sons of Frieda and Max Hart.  Hart graduated from Columbia Grammar School, and attended the Columbia School of Journalism.  In the late 'teens a mutual friend introduced Hart to composer Richard Rodgers.  Rodgers & Hart began their career writing the scores for amateur musicals presented at charity benefits and Columbia Varsity Shows. (One of their early efforts, FLY WITH ME in 1920, featured a score by Rodgers, Hart...and Hart's classmate Oscar Hammerstein II.) Hart, who spoke fluent German and was a descendant of the tragic poet Heinrich Heine, also supported himself by translating operettas and plays for the Shuberts.

 Rodgers & Hart made their professional debut with the song "Any Old Place With You," featured in the 1919 Broadway musical comedy A LONELY ROMEO. Their breakthrough came with the score for a 1925 charity show, THE GARRICK GAITIES, which introduced the classic valentine to their hometown, "Manhattan." From 1920 to 1930 Rodgers & Hart wrote an astonishing array of musical comedies for Broadway and London's West End. At their pinnacle the team was writing an average of four new shows a year, and among these were: DEAREST ENEMY, BETSY, PEGGY-ANN, THE GIRL FRIEND, CHEE-CHEE and A CONNECTICUT YANKEE.

In 1930 the team relocated to Hollywood, where they contributed songs and wrote the scores for several movie musicals, including the landmark LOVE ME TONIGHT starring Maurice Chevalier; THE PHANTOM PRESIDENT starring George M. Cohan; HALLELUJAH, I'M A BUM, starring Al Jolson; and MISSISSIPPI starring Bing Crosby and W.C. Fields. Hart also provided the translation for a 1934 MGM version of Lehar's THE MERRY WIDOW, and in the same year, wrote with Rodgers their only "pop song" — "Blue Moon."

Rodgers & Hart were lured back to New York by legendary Broadway producer Billy Rose in 1935 to write the songs for his circus musical spectacular, JUMBO. Their score featured "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World," "My Romance" and "Little Girl Blue." From 1936 to 1943 Rodgers & Hart wrote a series of Broadway musical comedies, each of which seemed to top the one before in terms of innovation and box office success. ON YOUR TOES, BABES IN ARMS, I'D RATHER BE RIGHT, I MARRIED AN ANGEL, THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE, TOO MANY GIRLS, HIGHER AND HIGHER, PAL JOEY and BY JUPITER dazzled Broadway in spectacular succession, and collectively offered such classic songs as "There's A Small Hotel," "I Wish I Were In Love Again," "My Funny Valentine," "Where Or When," "The Lady Is A Tramp," "Spring Is Here," "Falling In Love With Love," "Sing For Your Supper," "This Can't Be Love," "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," "It Never Entered My Mind," "Bewitched," "I Could Write A Book," "Nobody's Heart," and "Wait Till You See Her."

The Rodgers & Hart partnership disbanded temporarily early in 1943 when Rodgers collaborated with Oscar Hammerstein II on OKLAHOMA! and Hart started work on a musical, never finished, entitled MISS UNDERGROUND with music by Emmerich Kalman and a book by Paul Gallico. The partnership resumed in the autumn of '43 with a revision of A CONNECTICUT YANKEE, featuring six new songs including Hart's final lyric, "To Keep My Love Alive".  A CONNECTICUT YANKEE opened on Broadway November 17, 1943. Already ill at the time, Hart developed pneumonia soon thereafter, and died on November 22. His songs, however, have lived on. In 1995 Hart's centennial was celebrated from coast to coast, with special events in his hometown of "Manhattan," and in 1999 Hart was commemorated on a U.S. postage stamp.

Songs Associated this writer

News about this writer

Ted Chapin's STAGE DOOR CANTEEN CD Featured At Barnes & Noble NYC In-Store Event on April 11!
New DRG Recording Celebrates WWII-era Songs from Rodgers & Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hart and Others. Read More
New Recordings of Your Favorite Songs
Looking for the perfect gift for the music lover in your life? Here are some new albums that feature some of your favorite songs... Read More
Newly-engraved Bennett Symphonic Arrangement of Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

Newly-engraved full score and orchestral parts for Robert Russell Bennett's symphonic arrangement of Richard Rodgers' Slaughter on Tenth Avenue..

Read More

Trivia about this writer

Did you know? In 1922, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II worked with Herbert Fields and Lorenz Hart on a never-produced musical called WINKLE TOWN. All four Columbia boys would go on to lasting musical theater fame.
Did you know? Irving Berlin rhymed his thoughts on the creative partnership of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart: "Tuneful and tasty, schmaltzy and smart - music by Rodgers, lyrics by Hart."""
In 1940, Rodgers & Hart's musical PAL JOEY had its New York premiere on Christmas at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, before moving to the Shubert Theatre and finally to the St. James. The show ran for 374 performances.
In 1919, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart copyrighted their first professional collaboration, the song "Any Old Place With You"" from A LONELY ROMEO."
In 1905, the world premiere of Ferenc Molnar's play LILIOM is presented at the Vigszínház Theatre, Budapest. It is produced in New York several times with several different translations (one allegedly written by Lorenz Hart) before Rodgers & Hammerstein adapted the Benjamin Glazer text as their basis for CAROUSEL.
In 1938, Rodgers & Hart's musical THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE had its New York premier at the Alvin Theatre, and ran for 235 performances.
In 1927, Rodgers & Hart's musical A CONNECTICUT YANKEE had its New York premier at the Alvin Theatre. The show ran for 418 performances.
In 1937, Rodgers & Hart's musical I'D RATHER BE RIGHT opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York. The show ran for 290 performances.
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote their first professional score together, completing the show POOR LITTLE RITZ GIRL, which opened at the Central Theatre on this date in 1920.
In 1942, in the first public announcement of a Rodgers & Hammerstein collaboration, The New York Times reported: "The Theatre Guild announced yesterday that Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II will soon begin work on a musical version of Lynn Rigg's folk-play GREEN GROW THE LILACS."" Lorenzo Hart later dropped out of the project, but this show would become Rodgers and Hammerstein's first hit, OKLAHOMA!"
In 1942, Rodger & Hart's BY JUPITER premiered in New York at the Shubert Theatre. The show ran for 427 performances.
In 1975 the musical revue RODGERS & HART, conceived by Richard Lewine and John Fearnley, premiered at the Helen Hayes Theater and ran for 108 performances. The show featured over fifty songs composed by Richard Rodgers with lyrics by Lorenz Hart.
In 1938, Rodger & Hart's musical I MARRIED AN ANGEL had its New York premiere at the Shubert Theatre. The show ran for 290 performances.
In 1895 Lorenz Milton Hart was born in New York City. In 1918 he was introduced to Richard Rodgers, and they collaborate on twenty six Broadway musicals over the next two decades, including A CONNECTICUT YANKEE (1927), BABES IN ARMS (1937), I MARRIED AN ANGEL (1938), THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE (1938), PAL JOEY (1940), and BY JUPITER (1942).
The birthday of William Shakespeare! Rodgers & Hart's musical THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE (1938) marked the first time that Shakespeare was adapted for Broadway. Based on THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, the story brings not just one but two sets of estranged twins into a series of near-collisions, resulting in a major case of mistaken identity. Hart's lyrics throw in further Shakespearean references, as in the song "This Can't Be Love"" : ""Though your cousin loved my cousin Juliet / Loved her with a passion much more truly yet / Some poor playwright / Wrote their drama just for fun. / It won't run!"""
In 1937 Rodgers & Hart's musical BABES IN ARMS had its New York premier at the Shubert Theatre before moving to the Majestic Theatre for a total of 289 performances.
Did you know? Richard Rodgers' first major collaborator, Lorenz Hart, lived long enough to see his partner find new success with Oscar Hammerstein II. After the New York Premier of Rodgers & Hammerstein's OKLAHOMA! Hart embraced Rodgers and exclaimed, "Dick, I've never had a better evening in my life! This show will still be around twenty years from now!"""