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Richard Rodgers

(1902-1979)


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Richard Charles Rodgers was born on June 28, 1902, in New York City. He is regarded as one of the greatest musical theater composers, best known for his partnerships with Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. Rodgers wrote more than 40 Broadway musicals and 900 published songs.

While attending Columbia University, Rodgers met writing partner Lorenz Hart. Rodgers left Columbia to study and pursue a music career at the Institute of Musical Art, or Julliard. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Rodgers and Hart produced numerous successful musicals, including Babes in Arms and The Boys from Syracuse. Nevertheless, their partnership came to an end in 1943, with the death of Hart from alcohol.

Following Hart’s death, Rodger began collaborating with Oscar Hammerstein II. Their first musical, Oklahoma! (1943), was a ground-breaking hit. Together the successful duo put out other long-lasting hits such as Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949), The King and I (1951), and The Sound of Music (1959). They also collaborated on the television musical, Cinderella. The Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals earned a total of 34 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, 2 Pulitzer Prizes, 2 Grammy Awards and 2 Emmy Awards.

In 1952, Rogers provided the music for the innovative World War II television documentary “Victory at Sea.”

Following Hammerstein’s death in 1960, Rodgers continued to compose meaningful and memorable songs, for both stage and screen.

Rodgers died on December 30, 1979, at the age of 77. In 1990, Rodgers’ memory was honored when the 46th Street Theatre in New York City was renamed The Richard Rodgers Theatre.”


Sources: “Richard Rodgers (1902 - 1979).” American Jewish Desk Reference. NY: Random House, 1999. pg. 399-400, American Masters on PBS, Wikipedia

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