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Hammerstein II, Oscar

Oscar Hammerstein II was born on July 12, 1895 in New York City. His father, William, was a theatre manager and for many years director of Hammerstein's Victoria, the most popular vaudeville theatre of its day. His uncle, Arthur Hammerstein, was a successful Broadway producer and his grandfather, Oscar Hammerstein, a famous opera impresario.

Hammerstein started writing lyrics for the Columbia University Varsity shows while studying law. His earliest works included musical comedies written with a Columbia undergraduate seven years his junior named Richard Rodgers. (The 1920 Varsity show, FLY WITH ME, was composed by Rodgers with lyrics by both Hammerstein and a fellow classmate of his named Lorenz Hart.) Withdrawing from Columbia Law School after his second year to pursue a career in theatre, Hammerstein took a job with his uncle as an assistant stage manager.

In 1919 Hammerstein's first play, THE LIGHT, was produced by his Uncle Arthur; it lasted four performances. Undaunted, he continued to write both lyrics and librettos, principally with Otto Harbach as his collaborating author. His first success, with Harbach, Vincent Youmans and Herbert Stothart, was WILDFLOWER in 1923. Hammerstein found his niche with some of the greatest composers of his day, breathing new life into the moribund artform of operetta with such classics as ROSE-MARIE (music by Rudolf Friml), THE DESERT SONG (Sigmund Romberg), THE NEW MOON (Romberg), and SONG OF THE FLAME (George Gershwin). With Jerome Kern, Hammerstein wrote eight musicals, including SWEET ADELINE, MUSIC IN THE AIR and their masterwork, SHOW BOAT. His last musical before embarking on an exclusive partnership with Richard Rodgers was CARMEN JONES, the highly-acclaimed 1943 all-black revision of Georges Bizet's tragic opera CARMEN.

During the years that Hammerstein was redefining the terms of operetta, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart were challenging the accepted norms of musical comedy with shows that set new standards for wit, sophistication and innovation. The Rodgers & Hammerstein partnership began with OKLAHOMA! (1943). Like Hammerstein's SHOW BOAT and Rodgers & Hart's PAL JOEY, the first Rodgers & Hammerstein musical was a ground-breaking milestone, blending musical comedy and operetta into a whole new genre -- the musical play. OKLAHOMA! was also the start of the most successful partnership in Broadway history and was followed by CAROUSEL, ALLEGRO, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE KING AND I, ME AND JULIET, PIPE DREAM, FLOWER DRUM SONG, and THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Rodgers & Hammerstein wrote one musical specifically for the big screen -- STATE FAIR -- and one for television -- CINDERELLA. Collectively, their musicals have garnered dozens of awards including: Pulitzer Prizes; Tonys, Oscars, Emmys, and Grammys; and Drama Desk, Drama Critics’ Circle, Outer Critics’ Circle, Laurence Olivier, and Evening Standard Awards.

As producers, Rodgers & Hammerstein presented plays, musicals and revivals, including John van Druten's I REMEMBER MAMA, Anita Loos' HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Irving Berlin's blockbuster ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, the national tour of SHOW BOAT (1947-49) and six of their own stage musicals (from the Pulitzer winning SOUTH PACIFIC in 1949 to the Tony winning THE SOUND OF MUSIC ten years later). They also produced the motion picture version of OKLAHOMA! and founded their own music publishing firm, Williamson Music (basing the name on the fact that both of their fathers were named William.)

Oscar Hammerstein II was a member of the board of directors of many professional organizations, including the Dramatists Guild and the Screen Writers' Guild. He received many personal honors and awards including five honorary degrees, two Pulitzer Prizes, two Academy Awards and five Tony Awards.

His last musical was THE SOUND OF MUSIC written with Richard Rodgers in 1959; his last song was "Edelweiss," written for that musical during its Boston tryout. Oscar Hammerstein II died at his farm in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, on the morning of August 23, 1960.

In 1995 Hammerstein's centennial was celebrated worldwide with commemorative recordings, books, concerts and an award-winning PBS special, "Some Enchanted Evening." The ultimate tribute came the following season, when Oscar Hammerstein II had three musicals playing on Broadway simultaneously: SHOW BOAT (1995 Tony Award winner, Best Musical Revival); THE KING AND I (1996 Tony Award winner, Best Musical Revival); and STATE FAIR (1996 Tony Award nominee for Best Score.)

"The Careful Dreamer," a Time Magazine cover story on Oscar Hammerstein II, was published on October 20, 1947. A biography, Getting to Know Him by Hugh Fordin, was first published by Random House in 1977. A revised edition of Hammerstein's Lyrics, edited by his son William Hammerstein and containing an introductory essay by the lyricist plus a preface by his protege Stephen Sondheim, was published by Hal Leonard Publishing in 1985.

THE COMPLETE LYRICS OF OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2008.

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Songs Associated this writer

Concerts Associated this writer

News about this writer

Exclusive: Audra McDonald sings "Climb Ev'ry Mountain"
Broadway treasure and 5-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald sings "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" in this newly released clip from NBC The Sound of Music Live's companion soundtrack. Read More
Live from Lincoln Center Presents RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN'S CAROUSEL
Live From Lincoln Center presents the New York Philharmonic’s production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s iconic American musical, Carousel, featuring a star-studded cast including Kelli O'Hara, Nathan Gunn, Stephanie Blythe, Shuler Hensley, Jason Danieley, Jessie Mueller, Kate Burton, John Cullum and New York City Ballet dancers Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck. “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel” is hosted by Audra McDonald and will air on PBS stations on Friday, April 26, 2013 at 9 p.m. (ET) (check local listings) Read More
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella Cast Recording
The company of RODGERS + HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA will enter the studio on March 18 to preserve the Original Broadway Cast Recording for Ghostlight Records. Read More
"A Lovely Night" CINDERELLA Opens on Broadway
"OMG! THE ULTIMATE AND MOST ENDURING OF MAKEOVER SHOWS is back in town, and this Cinderella is no passive damsel waiting for a rescuing knight. SHE TAKES CHARGE OF HER DESTINY." –The New York Times
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Carrie Underwood To Star as Maria Von Trapp in NBC's Live Broadcast of THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Grammy-winning superstar Carrie Underwood to star as Maria Von Trapp in NBC's live broadcast of THE SOUND OF MUSIC based on the original musical.  Read More
Rodgers & Hammerstein's CINDERELLA Comes to Broadway!
A new production of RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN'S CINDERELLA will arrive on Broadway this season with previews set for January 21, 2013 prior to Opening Night on February 21 at the Broadway Theatre. Read More
Pre-release preview of Sierra Boggess & The John Wilson Orchestra
Happy Birthday Richard Rodgers!  To celebrate, we are proud to share with you this exclusive track, Rodgers' own "I Have Confidence" from The Sound of Music, performed by Sierra Boggess from the upcoming album, RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN AT THE MOVIES, featuring John Wilson and The John Wilson Orchestra.
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Rodgers & Hammerstein's PIPE DREAM will be recorded live at New York City Center's Encores! series this week, and released this Summer on Ghostlight Records.  Produced by Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagem Company, this preservation of Rodgers & Hammerstein's 1955 Broadway musical rarity marks the first time an Encores! musical has been recorded live.  Originally presented on Broadway in the 1955-56 season, and based on John Steinbeck’s novels Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday,  PIPE DREAM has not been seen in a full orchestral production in New York City until now. Read More
Cast announced for Carnegie Hall's Historic Concert of THE SOUND OF MUSIC!
Carnegie Hall today announced that its one-night-only concert performance of The Sound of Music on Tuesday, April 24 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage will star Laura Osnes as Maria Rainer.  Co-starring alongside Osnes will be Tony Goldwyn as Captain von Trapp.  Additional cast members include Brooke Shields as Elsa Schräder, Patrick Page as Max Detweiler, and Stephanie Blythe as The Mother Abbess. Read More
Leslie Uggams Joins the cast of PIPE DREAM at Encores!

Tony Award–winner Leslie Uggams has joined the cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Pipe Dream, to be presented by New York City Center Encores! series, March 28 – April 1. Ms. Uggams will play Fauna, the proprietress of the Bear Flag Café, the local brothel.

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Matthew Morrison Hosts New PBS Special, "Oscar Hammerstein II: OUT OF MY DREAMS."
Matthew Morrison will host a brand-new PBS special celebrating one of America's greatest theatrical geniuses.  OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II: OUT OF MY DREAMS is a celebration of the most acclaimed lyricist and librettist of the 20th century.  Brimming over with movie clips from his greatest musicals, this new PBS special features interviews with Stephen Sondheim, Harold Prince, Shirley Jones, Mitzi Gaynor, Hammerstein family members and others. Read More
Laura Osnes to Star in Rodgers & Hammerstein's PIPE DREAM
Laura Osnes has been cast as Suzy in the New York City Center Encores! production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Pipe Dream running March 28 - April 1. Pipe Dream will be directed by Marc Bruni with music direction by Rob Berman and choreography by Kelli Barclay, and will play for seven performances at New York City Center, West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. The Encores! presentation marks the first time the musical will be seen on the New York stage since the original production closed in June 1956. Read More
Mark Brokaw to direct the first Broadway-Bound production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's CINDERELLA
Mark Brokaw will direct the new, first-ever Broadway-bound production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's CINDERELLA, it has been announced by Robyn Goodman, who will produce the musical along with Aged in Wood Productions. 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
Carnegie Hall Is Alive With The Sound of Music

On April 24, 2012 Carnegie Hall will present THE SOUND OF MUSIC in the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, as a gala benefit for Carnegie Hall, this one-night-only concert performance of the beloved musical will provide support for music education programs of the Weill Music Institute.

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To Whom It May Concern
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of  Rodgers & Hammerstein's FLOWER DRUM SONGNancy Kwan who is best known for her portrayal of Linda Low is hosting a double feature and talk back at the Egyptian Theatre in LA. Read More
Never-Before-Seen SOUND OF MUSIC Home Movie Footage

Never-before-seen clips from personal home movie footage of the making of "The Sound Of Music" You can find more home movie footage in THE SOUND OF MUSIC FAMILY SCRAPBOOK by Fred Bronson available through Amazon.com starting April, 2012

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Spotlight on 'Allegro

Bill Rudman hosts an hour's visit with Ted Chapin, president of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, focusing on Chapin's first complete recording of ALLEGRO.

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The Hills Are Alive

As Summer 2011 arrives, THE SOUND OF MUSIC continues to flourish on stages the world over. 

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London Welcomes SOUTH PACIFIC

Lincoln Center Theater’s acclaimed production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC comes to Britain this summer. 

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A Pipe Dream No Longer, Rodgers & Hammerstein's PIPE DREAM Is Back!

Unavailable for performance in the USA since 1990, Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical rarity PIPE DREAM can once again be licensed and will be presented as part of New York City Center’s Encores! series in 2012.

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Our New Restored Editions

If you have recently received performance materials for SOUTH PACIFIC or THE KING AND I, you may have noticed that we are now offering our newly restored editions of these musical classics.  Along with CAROUSEL and THE SOUND OF MUSIC, SOUTH PACIFIC and THE KING AND I (and next year’s OKLAHOMA!) join our list of  bright, new, computer generated and user-friendly performance editions. 

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London Welcomes Bloody Mary

Announced in London this morning was the exciting news that Hawaii's own Loretta Ables Sayre will re-create her Tony nominated performance as Bloody Mary when the 7-time Tony Award winning Lincoln Center Theater production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC comes to Britain this summer. 

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R&H "Serving Up Musical Comfort Food"

"MADISON AVENUE is alive with the sound of “The Sound of Music”... as more than a dozen marketers use songs by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II in commercials" says The New York Times

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The Sound of Music opens in Salzburg - Video
THE SOUND OF MUSIC opened on Sunday October 23rd in Salzburg Austria -- the first time the stage musical has ever been seen in the city where the story began. Watch the video Read More

Trivia about this writer

Did you know? Oscar Hammerstein II had scant success in the decade between his groundbreaking collaborations with Jerome Kern on SHOW BOAT (1927) and with Richard Rodgers on OKLAHOMA! (1943). Reflecting on this period during his later triumph, Hammerstein filled a "Seasons Greetings"" advertisement in Variety with a list of his flop shows, titled ""I've done it before and I can do it again."""
In the summer of 1953, the U.S. State Department put Hammerstein on a restricted passport because of concerns about alleged communist activity.
Did you know? After Hammerstein passed away, Rodgers needed a new writing partner. For the first time in his career, he turned to himself for words. In 1962, Rodgers crafted new songs for the re-make of STATE FAIR and wrote both music and lyrics for the musical NO STRINGS. When the film version THE SOUND OF MUSIC needed new numbers, Rodgers wrote and composed the songs ?I Have Confidence? and ?Something Good.?
Did you know? Oscar Hammerstein's first school was P.S. 9 in New York City, on 81st street and West End Avenue.
Did you know? Hammerstein once gave an interview explaining how while working on lyrics for STATE FAIR, "I started to write a song about a girl having spring fever. And then, with a terrible shock, I realized no state fairs were held except in the autumn. Then I thought, well, maybe she just feels this way, although it is fall, and it gave me an even better theme: 'It Might As Well Be Spring'."""
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.
"Getting to Know You"" from THE KING AND I begins with the lines, ""It's a very ancient saying, / But a true and honest thought, / That if you become a teacher / By your pupils you'll be taught."" When Oscar Hammerstein II was later questioned about the verse, he admitted, ""As far as I know it is not a very ancient saying, I just said it was."""
In OKLAHOMA!, the Dream Ballet was choreographed by Agnes de Mille. The Ballet begins when Laurey falls into a reverie. Did you know that Hammerstein's lyrics for the first draft of the song "Out of My Dreams"" ended with the stage direction that a wispy figure of a bride would glide in from the shadows? Hammerstein then wrote: ""Take it, Agnes!"""
Did you know that Hammerstein wrote "Hello, Young Lovers"" for THE KING AND I in just forty-eight hours, after a month of fruitless attempts? He also had definite ideas about the song's performance. In 1953 he suggested to Constance Carpenter, then playing Anna, that ""instead of imagining the young lovers being down at about where the horn section is...I think the lovers ought to be somewhere on the first balcony. They are all the young lovers in the world."""
Did you know? According to Richard Rodgers in his autobiography "Musical Stages,"" ?Oscar was so moved by [?Surrey With A Fringe On Top?] that just listening to it made him cry. He once explained that he never cried at sadness in the theatre, only at nave happiness, and the idea of two bone-headed young people looking forward to nothing more than a ride in a surrey struck an emotional chord that affected him deeply.?"
Did you know? Oscar Hammerstein I, the grandfather of lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, was a major impresario and theater builder in New York in the late 19th Century. Though many of his theaters are no longer standing, Hammerstein?s legacy can still be found in today?s New York. The HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM, a popular rock venue, is housed in what was formerly his Manhattan Opera House; the The New Victory Theater on West 42nd Street, specializing in theater for young audiences, was originally his Victory; and his namesake theater built by his son Arthur Hammerstein is today the Ed Sullivan Theater and home to the Late Show with David Letterman.
Did you know? Even Oscar Hammerstein II struggled with the creative process. In 1946 he told The New York Times, "Writing comes darned hard to me. I do most of it on our farm in Doylestown. There I have a room with one of those tall old-fashioned desks you used to see in shipping offices. It takes me a long time to get started, and even then the words come slowly. I keep walking up and down the room and when I get what I want I go over to the desk and write in longhand with a soft pencil. I often wonder how many miles an act I walk."""
Did you know? When SOUTH PACIFIC premiered in 1949, World War II was very much engraved in the public memory. Even some of the original Broadway castmembers playing servicemen had fought in the war. When Oscar Hammerstein had trouble writing for military voices, he turned to his oldest son William (who served as a boatswain in the South Pacific) and to director Josh Logan (who spent 4 years in the Army).
Did you know? Oscar Hammerstein II came from a family of theater veterans, including father William Hammerstein (manager of the Victoria Theatre) uncle Arthur Hammerstein (Broadway producer) and of course namesake grandfather Oscar Hammerstein I, theater builder and impresario of the Manhattan Opera House.
Did you know? Oscar Hammerstein II once wrote: "Songwriters fall in love with the songs they write and try to put them into shows where they don't belong. I have done it myself?the most recent one I remember, was in ALLEGRO. We liked the song very much?it was not suitable for any of the leading characters."""
Did you know? In CAROUSEL, Billy meets the Starkeeper after his death. The Starkeeper gives Billy an opportunity to return to earth for one day to see his daughter. It was director Rouben Mamoulian who suggested this character for Broadway, replacing Rodgers and Hammerstein?s own idea of a Mr. and Mrs. God that played only in the show's out-of-town tryout.
Did you know? When the original production of SOUTH PACIFIC was being staged, Oscar Hammerstein II taught star Mary Martin a clog dance for the number ?Honey Bun,? which her character Nellie performs at the troops? Thanksgiving Follies.
In an early draft of CAROUSEL that anticipated the show's Boston opening, Hammerstein wrote the note, "There will probably be an encore. If not, the author and composer will probably jump in the Charles River."""
Did you know that both Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II married women named Dorothy, and both had fathers named William? This last fact lead Rodgers & Hammerstein to name their music publishing company Williamson Music Company when they founded it in 1945.
Hammerstein on his lyrics to "A Wonderful Guy"" in SOUTH PACIFIC: ""The emotion expressed in this song is so simple that it can afford to wear the decorations and embroidery of more ingenious rhyming. There is no subtle philosophy involved. A girl is in love and her heart is sailing. She is sentimental and exuberant and triumphant in the discovery. The job of the lyric is to capture her spirit."""
Did you know? Both Rodgers and Hammerstein hailed from alma mater Columbia University in New York City. Hammerstein attended from 1912 - 1917, and Rodgers followed him from 1919 - 1921.
Did you know? Hammerstein wrote about the difficulty of finding a suitable love song for the quarrelsome couple Laurey and Curly in OKLAHOMA! "Since this mood was to dominate their scenes down into the second act, it seemed impossible for us to write a song that said ""I love you,"" and remain consistent with the attitude they had adopted toward each other. After talking this over for a long time, Dick [Richard Rodgers] and I hit upon the idea of having the lovers warn each other against any show of tenderness...of course, while they say all those things, they are obliquely confessing their mutual affection."" This became ""People Will Say We're In Love"""
Did you know? In February 1945, one of CAROUSEL's financiers informed Hammerstein that contrary to a line in "June is Bustin' Out All Over,"" sheep actually mated in the fall - not in June. Hammerstein wrote back that he was ""thrown into consternation by the unwelcome news about the eccentrically frigid behavior of ewes in June."" Yet he chose to keep the stanza about sheep in the song."
Did you know? Writing OKLAHOMA! Rodgers & Hammerstein struggled to find the right way to portray menacing farmhand Jud Fry. "The question was how to make him acceptable,"" wrote Hammerstein, ""Not too much a deep-dyed villain?We didn't want to resort to the boring device of having two other characters discuss him and give the audience a psychological analysis. Even if this were dramatically desirable, there are no characters in this story who are bright enough or well-educated enough to do this. So we solved the problem with two songs, 'Pore Jud' and 'Lonely Room'...Jud becomes then, for a while, not just wicked..."""
Did you know? If all performances of Oscar Hammerstein II's stage works to date were brought together into an unbroken run, on the basis of eight performances per week, this run would last over 39 years.
In 1952, LIFE magazine published Rodgers & Hammerstein's only Christmas song, "Happy Christmas Little Friend,"" commissioned as a gift for its readers."
In 1927, SHOW BOAT came to Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theater, staged by Oscar Hammerstein II. The show ran for 572 performances.
Did you know? In 1931, the year that Oscar Hammerstein II's daughter Alice began to write poems, he gave her an Oxford Book of Verse for Christmas. With it came a letter: "Let me give you a little tip about reading poetry,"" wrote father to daughter. ""It can be awfully dull - if you read it fast. Read it slowly, and when the meaning of a line is obscured, read it over, and try and find out what the poet had in mind...understand them as deeply as you can."""
In 1905, the world premiere of Ferenc Molnar's play LILIOM is presented at the Vigsznhz 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 1943, CARMEN JONES opened at the Broadway Theatre, where it ran for 503 performances.
In 1946, the first performance of OKLAHOMA! in the state of Oklahoma was presented at the Municipal Auditorium in Oklahoma City. Governor Robert S. Kerr presided over several days of statewide celebrations, joined by Rodgers, Hammerstein, their wives, and members of the musical's creative team. Rodgers & Hammerstein were made honorary members of the Kiowa Indian tribe.
In 1926, writer Edna Ferber signed a contract giving Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern "dramatico-musical rights"" to her novel SHOW BOAT."
In 1932, MUSIC IN THE AIR opened at the Alvin Theatre on Broadway. It ran for 342 performances.
In 1946, Anita Loos' comedy HAPPY BIRTHDAY, presented by Rodgers & Hammerstein and starring Helen Hayes, opened at the Broadhurst Theatre, New York, and ran for 564 performances. In the play Helen Hayes sings "I Haven't Got a Worry in the World,"" written especially for her by the producers."
In 1947, TIME magazine profiled Oscar Hammerstein II with a cover story entitled "The Careful Dreamer"""
In 1959, Oscar Hammerstein II began work on "Edelweiss,"" his 1,589th and last lyric, written for THE SOUND OF MUSIC. It is completed on October 21st and went into the show during its pre-Broadway tryout in Boston."
Did you know? Oscar Hammerstein II wrote his first professional song at the age of 22: "Make Yourself at Home"" with music by Silvio Hein. It debuted in the show FURS AND FRILLS, which opening on Broadway on this day, October 9, 1917."
In 1994, the Hal Prince-directed revival of SHOW BOAT premiered at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway. The revival ran for 947 performances, making it the most successful production of the show to date. In 1995 the show won five Tony Awards, including Best Direction and Best Revival of a Musical.
In 1933, MUSIC IN THE AIR closed after 342 performances on Broadway.
In 1960, at the request of New York City Mayor Wagner, the lights in the Broadway theatre district were blacked out at 9:00 pm in memory of Oscar Hammerstein II.
In 1960 Oscar Hammerstein II passed away at his farm in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He was 65.
Oscar Hammerstein II married Myra Finn; they divorced in 1929.
In 1955 Eddie Fisher, Shirley Jones, Ed Sullivan, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, and the governors of New York and Oklahoma led an "Oklahoma Song-Fest"" at the Central Park Mall in New York before a crowd of 15,000."
In 1948 the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra presented its first "Rodgers & Hammerstein Night"" at Lewisohn Stadium in New York. A crowd of 20,000 attended and the R&H concerts became annual season finales at the stadium for more than a decade, with Richard Rodgers serving frequently as a guest conductor."
In 1944 Williamson Music published "Dear Friend,"" a song by Rodgers & Hammerstein. All proceeds went to the 5th War Loan Drive."
In 1953 MGM released the movie MAIN STREET TO BROADWAY, featuring a host of Broadway celebrities in cameo appearances. In one sequence, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Joshua Logan, and Mary Martin play themselves "in rehearsal"" for a new musical, during which Martin sings ""There's Music in You,"" written by Rodgers & Hammerstein especially for the film."
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 1895 Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein was born in New York City.
Oscar Hammerstein II wrote to book collaborator Josh Logan on their work SOUTH PACIFIC, "Last night, the audience behaved like a large group of people who had all met somewhere else and said, 'Let's all go over to the Majestic Theatre and get drunk.' ?In some way, we have combined all man's emotions into that play so that the reactions are somewhat like the combination of a big football game and a bull fight and grand opera and tragedy and comedy...Now I'm drunk!"""
In 1944 Williamson Music published "We're on Our Way,"" written by Rodgers & Hammerstein and dedicated to the U.S. Army Infantry."
In June, 1951, Oscar Hammerstein II sent a report on the success of THE KING AND I to director John van Druten. "I have never had such enthusiastic reactions for any play with which I have been connected,"" Hammerstein wrote. ""Friends, and people I have never seen before, or heard of, come up to me and drool."""
In 1954, a Broadway revival of CAROUSEL opened at City Center, directed by Oscar Hammerstein II's son, William Hammerstein.
In 1955 Edward R. Murrow interviewed Oscar Hammerstein II at his townhouse in New York City on "Person to Person,"" live on CBS-TV."
In 1929 the original production of SHOW BOAT closed at the Ziegfeld Theater after 572 performances.
In 1947 OKLAHOMA! opened at the Theatre Royal in London. The theater would be continuously occupied by one Rodgers & Hammerstein musical after another for the next nine years.
In 1915 Oscar Hammerstein II appeared as a performer in the Columbia Varsity show ON YOUR WAY. Although guided by his father into a law degree at Columbia University, Oscar Hammerstein II had been bitten by the family's theatrical bug.
In 1957 Rodgers & Hammerstein's only musical for television, CINDERELLA, was broadcast live on CBS-TV before an estimated audience of 107 million. Julie Andrews starred in the role of Cinderella.
Oscar Hammerstein II wrote his first amateur score for the show HOME, JAMES, with music by Robert Lippmann and lyrics by Herman Axelrod. It played at the Astor Hotel Grand Ballroom on this day in 1917.
In 1929, Oscar Hammerstein II married Dorothy Blanchard Jacobson.
In 1943, the world premiere of Rodgers & Hammerstein's first musical AWAY WE GO! was presented at the Shubert Theatre, New Haven. Moving on to Boston, it acquired a new show-stopping number. This becomes the title song when the production opened on Broadway as the classic OKLAHOMA!
In 1919 UP STAGE AND DOWN featured the first songs written together by 17-year-old composer Richard C. Rodgers and 24-year-old lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II: "Weaknesses"", ""Can It"", and ""There's Always Room for One More"". The show was an amateur musical comedy written to benefit the Infants Relief Society, and it played for one night in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel's Grand Ballroom."
In 1942, Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern won the Oscar for Best Song at the 14th Annual Academy Awards. They received this prize for "The Last Time I Saw Paris,"" featured in the film LADY BE GOOD."
In 1945, USO Camp Shows under the direction of Reginald and Ted Hammerstein (respectively brother and cousin to lyricist Oscar) launched a nine-month tour of OKLAHOMA! for members of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in the Pacific theater.
In 1945, CARMEN JONES closed on Broadway, after a run of 503 performances.
In 1954, Richard Rodgers received an honorary Doctorate in Music, and Oscar Hammerstein II, in Letters, from their alma mater Columbia University.
In 1920 ALWAYS YOU, Hammerstein's first professional show as sole lyricist and librettist, opened on Broadway. The show ran for 66 performances at the Central Theatre at 1567 Broadway. Can you name the composer of ALWAYS YOU? A: ALWAYS YOU was composed by Herbert Stothart.