Something Wonderful : Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution
by Todd S. Purdum


Overview -

A revelatory portrait of the creative partnership that transformed musical theater and provided the soundtrack to the American Century

They stand at the apex of the great age of songwriting, the creators of the classic Broadway musicals Oklahoma , Carousel , South Pacific , The King and I , and The Sound of Music , whose songs have never lost their popularity or emotional power.  Read more...


 
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More About Something Wonderful by Todd S. Purdum
 
 
 
Overview

A revelatory portrait of the creative partnership that transformed musical theater and provided the soundtrack to the American Century

They stand at the apex of the great age of songwriting, the creators of the classic Broadway musicals Oklahoma , Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music, whose songs have never lost their popularity or emotional power. Even before they joined forces, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II had written dozens of Broadway shows, but together they pioneered a new art form: the serious musical play. Their songs and dance numbers served to advance the drama and reveal character, a sharp break from the past and the template on which all future musicals would be built.


Though different in personality and often emotionally distant from each other, Rodgers and Hammerstein presented an unbroken front to the world and forged much more than a songwriting team; their partnership was also one of the most profitable and powerful entertainment businesses of their era. They were cultural powerhouses whose work came to define postwar America on stage, screen, television, and radio. But they also had their failures and flops, and more than once they feared they had lost their touch.


Todd S. Purdum's portrait of these two men, their creative process, and their groundbreaking innovations will captivate lovers of musical theater, lovers of the classic American songbook, and young lovers wherever they are. He shows that what Rodgers and Hammerstein wrought was truly something wonderful.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781627798341
  • ISBN-10: 162779834X
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
  • Publish Date: April 2018
  • Page Count: 400
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Performing Arts > Theater - Broadway & Musicals
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Entertainment & Performing Arts
Books > Music > Genres & Styles - Musicals

 
BookPage Reviews

The men behind the curtain

In the 1946 Broadway production of Annie Get Your Gun, Ethel Merman famously belted out, “There’s no business like show business.” Music theater legends Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber would no doubt agree.

Rodgers and Hammerstein transformed the world of sound and stage, lighting up Broadway with one legendary success after another—think Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific and The Sound of Music—and doing their lyrical, tuneful best to revolutionize musicals in the 1940s and 1950s. Villainy, tragedy and romance colored their productions, creating a new mix of sentiment and gravitas, studded with catchy, memorable tunes and innovative melodies.

Come backstage in Todd S. Purdum’s Something Wonderful as he introduces the musical stars and up-and-comers of the day—Mary Martin, Yul Brynner, Julie Andrews and Gene Kelly, to name a few. Become part of the Big Black Giant (show business’s apt moniker for the audience) and live the drama of opening nights, when anything could happen—and often did, from train wrecks to triumphant debuts. Discover the complexities of the duo’s very different personalities and their decades-long partnership, all tied into the entangling business of Broadway. It’s all here in Purdum’s book. From describing the real-life moment that inspired “Some Enchanted Evening” to detailing the drafts for “Edelweiss,” Purdum has produced Something Wonderful indeed.

The iconic composer Andrew Lloyd Webber celebrates his 70th birthday with the publication of his memoir, Unmasked. Filled with wit, self-deprecating humor and dollops of gossip, Lloyd Webber chronicles his decades of work in musical theater. The prolific composer (Evita, Cats, Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard, among others) claims Richard Rodgers as his hero, and like him, Lloyd Webber has become rich, famous, controversial and revered. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1992, he has earned seven Tonys, three Grammys, a Golden Globe and an Oscar.

Lloyd Weber goes behind the scenes during a time when the Beatles were changing 1960s London and the song “MacArthur Park” by Richard Harris first fused rock with orchestral music. Lloyd Webber ran with the idea of applying this new sound to a musical, while friend and lyricist Tim Rice took his story material from the Bible. Together they created Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. While some critics were agog at such seeming irreverence, audiences loved the sound and lined up for the shows.

“Even if I haven’t got near to writing ‘Some Enchanted Evening,’” Lloyd Webber modestly concludes, “I hope I’ve given a few people some reasonably OK ones. I’d like to give them some more.” Wouldn’t that be something wonderful?

 

This article was originally published in the April 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews