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Rodgers & Hammerstein


Musical duo Richard Rodgers (1902- 1979) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895- 1960) were some of the most influential American musical theatre writers. Writing several popular Broadway musicals in the 1940s and 1950s, they started the "Golden Age" of musical theater.

Richard Rodgers composed the music for their musicals and had a huge impact on popular music. Oscar Hammerstein II was the lyricist-dramatist for the musicals. Many of his songs are now jazz standards. They introduced more mature topics into musical theatre, which had previously had lighter themes.

In addition to having recognizable music, they popularized the "formula musical." In a formula musical, the plot is predictable, the male lead is a baritone, the female lead is a soprano, and the supporting characters include an alto and tenor. Furthermore, the male lead is expected to be tough and strong, while the female lead is more dainty. This technique of musical writing is both praised and criticized by theatre fans.


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