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Rodgers & Hammerstein

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 consistently fruitful and successful partnership in the American musical theatre.  OKLAHOMA!, the first Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, was also the first of a new genre, the musical play, blending Rodgers' sophisticated style of musical comedy (which he had perfected in a twenty-five year partnership with lyricist Lorenz Hart) with Hammerstein's innovations in operetta (conceived in collaboration with such composers as Sigmund Romberg, Vincent Youmans, Rudolf Friml and Jerome Kern.)  OKLAHOMA! was followed by CAROUSEL (1945), ALLEGRO (1947), SOUTH PACIFIC (1949), THE KING AND I (1951), ME AND JULIET (1953), PIPE DREAM (1955), FLOWER DRUM SONG (1958) and THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1959).  The team also wrote one movie musical, STATE FAIR (1945; adapted to the stage, 1995), and one for television, CINDERELLA (1957). 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.

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Songs Associated this writer

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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 Production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's CINDERELLA Aims For 2012-13 Season on Broadway
A new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's CINDERELLA -- with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, a new book by Douglas Carter Beane and original book by Oscar Hammerstein II -- is aiming for an opening next season on Broadway following a workshop production in April 2012, it was announced on December 8 by producer 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
A Rodgers, Hammerstein and Berlin Trifecta!
On any given weekend you can find in your area a show or concert featuring the music and lyrics of the incomparable Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II or Irving Berlin. 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
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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Commemorative Edition Librettos

If you want to curl up in your easy chair and revisit the lyrics and dialogue to a classic musical like OKLAHOMA or THE SOUND OF MUSIC...

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ENCHANTED EVENING: Rodgers & Hammerstein at the Movies

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN AT THE MOVIES is a new concert event in which iconic moments from the great Rodgers & Hammerstein movie musicals are screened in front of world class symphonies providing live orchestral accompaniment.

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SOUTH PACIFIC Launches US National Tour

The seven-time 2008 Tony Award winning Lincoln Center Theater production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s SOUTH PACIFIC, directed by Bartlett Sher, launches its National Tour in September.

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Josephs & Cinderellas

Did you notice that we have two versions of both JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT and CINDERELLA?

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Imagem Music Group Buys R&H

Imagem Music has acquired the rights to the songs and musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein, as well as this organization...

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ALLEGRO--First Complete Recording!

This new recording is now available...

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CAROUSEL Takes an "Enchanting" Turn in London

Rodgers and Hammersteins CAROUSEL opened in London on December 2nd, 2008, to rave reviews. Starring Lesley Garrett as Nettie Fowler, directed by Lindsay Posner and choreographed by Adam Cooper, CAROUSEL returned to the West End after a UK tour for the first time since the Royal National Theatre production in 1992...

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ALLEGRO: A Complete Recording At Last

The complete recording of Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1947 Broadway musical Allegro will be released Feb. 3, 2009, by SONY Masterworks Broadway. Ted Chapin shares his thoughts on the development of this amazing project...

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Keep Talking Happy Talk

Happy Talk is now available in your inbox! With the launch of our new website comes the launch of a new Happy Talk that you only receive by email...

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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? In SOUTH PACIFIC, Joe Cable sings "Younger Than Springtime"" to Liat, his partner in an unexpected romance. Rodgers & Hammerstein made no fewer than three prior attempts at writing this number. The third try, ""Suddenly Lucky,"" contained the lyrics ""Suddenly lucky / Suddenly to be together, / Suddenly owning / Happiness no gold can buy."" Although cut from SOUTH PACIFIC, Richard Rodgers was able to rescue the melody for THE KING AND I, where it became the iconic song ""Getting to Know You."""
Did you know? The origins of OKLAHOMA! go back to poet, playwright and Oklahoma native Lynn Riggs (1899-1954). Riggs wrote Green Grow the Lilacs while on a Guggenheim Fellowship in France in 1928-29. The title of Riggs? play comes from a folk song of the same name. Folk songs, ballads and dances were all performed as part of GREEN GROW THE LILACS, which was first produced on Broadway in 1931. Rodgers & Hammerstein were then inspired to turn GREEN GROW THE LILACS into a new type of musical play ? what became their first hit OKLAHOMA!
In Rodgers & Hammerstein's ALLEGRO, the original version of the song "What A Lovely Day for a Wedding"" was structured as a pantoum, an Indian form of lyric in which whole lines are repeated, rather than rhymed. This is one of many ways in which ALLEGRO was experimental
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? The conflict between settled farmers and wandering cowhands portrayed in the OKLAHOMA! song "The Farmer and the Cowman"" was based on a true historical crisis, when farmers moved further west and started to build fences. The cattlemen hated the farmers' fettering of the land, and the farmers forbid their daughters to associate with the easy-going cowboys."
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.
SOUTH PACIFIC opens with lovers Emile and Nellie enjoying the view on a tropical plantation. Yet did you know that originally, Act One, Scene 1 began with satirical lyrics that pitted Joe Cable's brave army lieutenant against Commodore Bill Harbison's oblivious company man? "We have other important men / But nobody counts as much / As the modern executive type / With the organizational touch!"""
"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? Hammerstein wrote: "When [source story playwright] Lynn Riggs attended a rehearsal of OKLAHOMA! for the first time, I asked him if he approved of [the song ""Lonely Room""]. He said, 'I certainly do. It will scare the hell out of the audience.' That is exactly what it was designed to do."""
In Act II of OKLAHOMA! Laurie and Curly reprise their Act I duet, "People Will Say We're In Love."" Did you know that a cut song initially written for this moment was titled ""Boys and Girls Like You and Me""? It included the lyrics: ""They walk on every village street / They walk in lanes where branches meet / And stars send down their blessings from the blue...Believing in each other as we do / Bravely marching forward two by two."""
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.
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.
Theodore Bikel, who starred in the original Broadway production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC as Captain von Trapp to Mary Martin's Maria, had personal connection to the role. Born in Vienna, his family fled to Palestine following the Nazi annexation of Austria on this day in 1938. Bikel's background as a guitar player and folk singer helped inspire the Rodgers & Hammerstein song Edelweiss.
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..."""
In 1952, LIFE magazine published Rodgers & Hammerstein's only Christmas song, "Happy Christmas Little Friend,"" commissioned as a gift for its readers."
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 1965, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound opened to the public at the Performing Arts Research Center of the New York Public Library. Featured in this general collection are approximately 500,000 recordings from the late 19th century to the present.
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 1993, A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING, a musical revue of Rodgers & Hammerstein's songs, opened on Broadway at Criterion Second Stage Right. It ran for 52 performances and received three Tony Award nominations.
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 1950, John Steinbeck's play BURNING BRIGHT, presented by Rodgers & Hammerstein, opened at the Broadhurst Theatre, New York.
In 1944, John van Druten's play I REMEMBER MAMA opened at the Music Box Theatre, New York, and ran for 714 performances. It was presented by Rodgers & Hammerstein.
In 1991, the movie of THE KING AND I was shown outdoors at the Hollywood Bowl on the world's largest movie screen as part of American Cinematheque's annual "Movies at the Bowl"" event. Mary Rodgers and James Hammerstein, a daughter and son of the authors, introduced the film to a crowd of 18,000."
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!"
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 1993, its 50th anniversary year, OKLAHOMA! was awarded a special commemorative Tony.
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 1946 Irving Berlin's musical ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, presented by Rodgers & Hammerstein and starring Ethel Merman, opened at the Imperial Theatre, New York, and ran for 1,147 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 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.
In 1943, Marlo Music Corp. published "The P.T. Boat Song (Steady As You Go)"". Written by Rodgers & Hammerstein, the song was dedicated to the officers and men of the Motor Torpedo Boats. All royalties went to the Navy Relief Society."
In 1954 General Foods sponsored a tribute to Rodgers & Hammerstein broadcast on multiple networks. Hosted by Mary Martin and featuring segments from OKLAHOMA!, STATE FAIR, CAROUSEL, ALLEGRO, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE KING AND I and ME AND JULIET with many members of the original casts, it also included special appearances from Jack Benny, Groucho Marx, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Ed Sullivan, and Rodgers & Hammerstein.
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 1949, the world premiere of SOUTH PACIFIC was presented at the Shubert Theatre, New Haven.
In 1945 at the 18th annual Academy Awards, "It Might As Well Be Spring"" from STATE FAIR received the Oscar for Song of the Year."
In 1950, Graham Greene's drama THE HEART OF THE MATTER, presented by Rodgers & Hammerstein, opened at the Wilbur Theatre, Boston.
In 1976, at the 18th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, the original 1943 Broadway cast album of OKLAHOMA! was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
In 1953, the national tour of SOUTH PACIFIC began a one-week engagement at the Tower Theatre, Atlanta. In response to the anti-racist song "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught,"" members of the Georgia State Legislature issued a vehement protest and introduced a bill to outlaw entertainment works having ""an underlying philosophy inspired by Moscow."""
In 1947 Norman Krasna's comedy JOHN LOVES MARY, presented by Rodgers & Hammerstein, opened at the Booth Theatre, New York, and ran for 421 performances.
In 1950, Samuel Taylor's comedy THE HAPPY TIME opened at the Plymouth Theatre, New York, and ran for 614 performances. It was presented by Rodgers & Hammerstein.
In 1994, the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical revue A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING closed on Broadway after 52 performances and three Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical and Best Book.