Getting to Know the Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein -- John Frey




Thursdays, May 5, 12, 19, 26, 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Oddfellows Hall, SLO

Four Sessions

$20 for LLCC members, $40 for non-members.

Register for this course on Brown Paper Tickets

This course will cover three Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals and a documentary about Richard Rodgers. You will see and learn about the musicals Oklahoma (1943), Carousel (1945), Sound of Music (1959) and Richard Rodgers -- The Sweetest Sounds (2001).

Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) were an American song-writing duo who created a string of popular Broadway musicals in the 1940s and 1950s. With Hammerstein writing the lyrics and Rodgers composing the music, five of their shows, Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music, were outstanding successes. Among the many accolades that their shows and their film versions garnered were thirty-four Tony Awards, fifteen Academy Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and two Grammys.


Richard Rodgers - The Sweetest Sounds

Richard Rodgers’ contributions to the musical theater of his day and his influence on the musical theater is legendary. His career spanned more than six decades, and his hits ranged from the silver screens of Hollywood to the bright lights of Broadway, London and beyond. He was the recipient of countless awards, including Pulitzers, Tonys, Oscars, Grammys and Emmys. He wrote more than 900 published songs, and forty Broadway musicals. This documentary first appeared on American Masters on PBS.


Oklahoma! (1943)

Rodgers and Hammerstein were attracted to making a musical based on Lynn Riggs' stage play Green Grow the Lilacs. Their first collaboration resulted in Oklahoma, which marked a revolution in musical drama, Oklahoma! introduced a number of new storytelling elements and techniques including its use of song and dance to convey plot and character, and the firm integration of every song into the plot-line .The production ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performance. Many enduring musical standards came from this show, among them “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin',” “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” “I Cain't Say No,” “People Will Say We're in Love,” and “Oklahoma!.”


Carousel (1945)

Carousel was adapted from Ferenc Molnár's play Liliom, It was one of the first musicals with a tragic plot but a hopeful ending. It contained an extended ballet that was crucial to the plot. From this show came the hit musical numbers "The Carousel Waltz," "If I Loved You," "June Is Bustin' Out All Over," and "You'll Never Walk Alone."


The Sound of Music (1959)

The Sound of Music, Rodgers and Hammerstein's last work together, told the story of the von Trapp family. It was the most financially successful film adaptation of a Broadway musical ever made. It contained many memorable songs, including the title song, "Do-Re-Mi," "My Favorite Things," "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," "So Long, Farewell," "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" and "Edelweiss.”


John Frey is a retired Chemistry professor and a member of the boards of LLCC, Festival Mozaic and of Opera Lovers Meet. He has performed in the chorus of Opera San Luis Obispo and the SLO Master Chorale. He has had a lifelong love and passion for opera, choral music and musical theater. He has made numerous commentaries and video presentations for SLO’s Opera Lovers, OperaSLO and LLCC.

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