Richard Rodgers (1902–1979) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895–1960) were an innovative and successful American musical theatre writing team, usually referred to as Rodgers and Hammerstein. Richard Rodgers composed the music and Oscar Hammerstein provided the lyrics. They created a string of popular Broadway musicals in the 1940s and 1950s initiating what is considered the "golden age" of musical theatre.
“Rodgers and Hammerstein were top-notch at integrating dialogue and music to tell vivid stories. These stories were capable of not only entertaining with great humor and whimsy, but also challenging notions of racism, classism and sexism.”
Some of their classic works include: Oklahoma (1943), South Pacific (1949), The King and I (1951) and The Sound of Music (1959), which all became successful films and have enjoyed many Broadway revivals. During their partnership, Rodgers and Hammerstein created eleven musicals and received 35 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, two Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards. Their work continues to inspire generations of musical theatre writers and is produced for its relevance and artistic mastery. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s work lives on as one of the most beloved canons in American musical theatre.
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella is the only musical collaboration of Rodgers and Hammerstein that was written specifically for television. Largely based on Charles Perrault’s version of the tale, it premiered on CBS in 1957 and starred Julie Andrews. The first staged version of the musical was performed in London a year later.
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella was produced for television two more times after its premiere, in 1965 and 1997. The 1997 version of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella starred Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother. This production was noted for its diverse casting. The Royal Family was comprised of an African-American mother, a Caucasian father and an Asian-American Prince. This production reflected the diversity of the country and the universality of the story. The casting of pop stars helped open up Cinderella to a new audience.
This current revival of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella has been updated with a new book by five-time Tony Award nominee, Douglas Carter Beane. Beane and the creative team re-imagined the journey of the classic tale and gave the female heroine a more empowered, more active role in the story.
The new production also incorporates additional songs from the Rodgers and Hammerstein catalogue, including "Now Is the Time," "Me, Who Am I?" and "The Music in You,” as well as the original music from the television version, including, "In My Own Little Corner," "Impossible/It's Possible," "Ten Minutes Ago" and "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?"