Gershwin Brothers: Girl Crazy

"Girl Crazy" was written in 1930 by George and Ira Gershwin. It ran for 272 performances on Broadway and starred two young performers, Ginger Rogers and Ethel Merman. Included in the orchestra were several well-known musicians, such as Glen Miller, Gene Krupa, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman. Two of the best-known songs from "Girl Crazy" are "Embraceable You" and "I Got Rhythm." [read more...]

Gershwin Brothers: An American in Paris

"An American in Paris," the Academy Award winner for Best Picture in 1951, has a score by George and Ira Gershwin. All of the songs, however, were from earlier Gershwin plays and movies. Included in the score are Embraceable You, I Got Rhythm and Stairway to Paradise. [read more...]

Gershwin Brothers: Porgy and Bess

Although George and Ira Gershwin wrote many wonderful songs, their masterpiece was the score for the modern opera, "Porgy and Bess." It opened on Broadway in 1935 and ran for 124 performances. The music was composed by George Gershwin and the the lyrics were by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. The opera was based on DuBose's novel and play, "Porgy." [read more...]

Rodgers and Hammerstein: Oklahoma

In 1943, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II thrilled Broadway audiences with their innovative musical, "Oklahoma." The play used music and dance to help tell a well-developed story about people in Oklahoma in the early 1900s. "Oklahoma" was a huge success on Broadway, running for 5 years and 2,212 performances. [read more...]

Rodgers and Hammerstein: Carousel

"Carousel" was Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's second musical, coming after their extremely successful "Oklahoma." It was based on the play "Liliom" by Hungarian playwright, Ferenc Molnar. "Carousel" opened on Broadway in 1945 and it ran for 2 years and 890 performances. The original cast included John Raitt as Billy. Like "Oklahoma," the choreographer for "Carousel" was Agnes de Mille. [read more...]

Rodgers and Hammerstein: State Fair

After composing the scores for two successful Broadway musicals, "Oklahoma" and "Carousel," and while both shows were still playing on Broadway, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote the score for a movie musical, "State Fair." The 1945 film score was the only one they ever wrote specifically for a movie. [read more...]

Rodgers and Hammerstein: South Pacific

The musical "South Pacific" began when Joshua Logan and Leland Hayward purchased the rights to James Michener's novel, "Tales of the South Pacific." They then asked Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II to write the music and book for the play. Rodgers and Hammerstein agreed, but Hammerstein asked Logan, who had served in WW II, to help write the book. Next, the decision was made to hire Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin to play the lead roles of Emile de Becque and Nellie Forbush. [read more...]

Rodgers and Hammerstein: The King and I

A year after "South Pacific" opened on Broadway, Rodgers and Hammerstein II wrote "The King and I." The play was based on the memoirs of Anna Leonowens who, in the 1860s, was the teacher of the King of Siam's children. [read more...]

Kander and Ebb: From Stage to Film

In the mid-1960s, a new composing team, John Kander and Fred Ebb, were starting to make their mark on Broadway. From 1966 to 1975, the team created five Broadway musicals, including two that eventually became successful movie musicals. [read more...]

Kander and Ebb: Movie Musicals

In 1975, the same year as their successful Broadway musical, "Chicago, "John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote part of the score to the Barbra Streisand film, "Funny Lady." The film was a sequel to "Funny Girl" and it was a moderate success. One of Kander and Ebb's songs from the film, "How Lucky Can You Get?," was nominated for an Academy Award. The best songs in the film, however, were older songs not written by Kander and Ebb. [read more...]