Biography

Richard Rodgers (1902-79) began his professional career in 1920 with a series of musicals for Broadway, London and Hollywood written with lyricist Lorenz Hart. Among their greatest: ON YOUR TOES (1936), BABES IN ARMS (1937), THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE (1938), and PAL JOEY (1940). The Rodgers & Hart partnership came to an end with the death of Lorenz Hart in 1943, at the age of 48.

Richard Rodgers (1902-79) began his professional career in 1920 with a series of musicals for Broadway, London and Hollywood written with lyricist Lorenz Hart. Among their greatest: ON YOUR TOES (1936), BABES IN ARMS (1937), THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE (1938), and PAL JOEY (1940). The Rodgers & Hart partnership came to an end with the death of Lorenz Hart in 1943, at the age of 48. Earlier that year Rodgers had joined forces with lyricist and author Oscar Hammerstein II, whose work in the field of operetta throughout the '20s and '30s had been as innovative as Rodgers' own accomplishments in the field of musical comedy. OKLAHOMA! (1943), the first Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, was also the first of a new genre, the musical play, representing a unique fusion of Rodgers' musical comedy and Hammerstein's operetta. It also marked the beginning of the most successful partnership in Broadway musical history, and 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 wrote one movie musical, STATE FAIR (1945; adapted to the stage, 1995), and one for television, CINDERELLA (1957; remade in 1965 and 1997). Collectively, the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals earned 34 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes and two Grammy Awards. In 1998 Rodgers & Hammerstein were cited byTime Magazine and CBS News as among the 20 most influential artists of the 20th century, and in 1999 they were jointly commemorated on a U.S. postage stamp. Despite Hammerstein's death in 1960, Rodgers continued to write for the Broadway stage. His first solo entry, NO STRINGS in 1962, earned him two Tony Awards for music and lyrics, and was followed by DO I HEAR A WALTZ? (1965, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim), TWO BY TWO (1970, lyrics by Martin Charnin), REX (1976, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick) and I REMEMBER MAMA (1979, lyrics by Martin Charnin and Raymond Jessel). Richard Rodgers died at home in New York City on December 30, 1979, at the age of 77. On March 27, 1990, he was honored posthumously with Broadway's highest accolade when the 46th Street Theatre, owned and operated by the Nederlander Organization, was renamed The Richard Rodgers Theatre, home to The Richard Rodgers Gallery, which honors the composer's life and works.

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