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Oscar Hammerstein II

Oscar Hammerstein II

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Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein II (icon; July 12, 1895 – August 23, 1960) was an American librettist, theatrical producer, and (usually uncredited) theatre director of musicals for almost forty years. Hammerstein won eight Tony Awards and was twice awarded an Academy Award
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 for "Best Original Song". Many of his songs are standard repertoire for singers and jazz musicians. He co-wrote 850 songs. Hammerstein was the lyricist
Lyricist
A lyricist is a songwriter who specializes in lyrics. A singer who writes the lyrics to songs is a singer-lyricist. This differentiates from a singer-composer, who composes the song's melody.-Collaboration:...

 and playwright in his partnerships; his collaborators wrote the music. Hammerstein collaborated with composers Jerome Kern
Jerome Kern
Jerome David Kern was an American composer of musical theatre and popular music. One of the most important American theatre composers of the early 20th century, he wrote more than 700 songs, used in over 100 stage works, including such classics as "Ol' Man River", "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", "A...

, Vincent Youmans
Vincent Youmans
Vincent Youmans was an American popular composer and Broadway producer.- Life :Vincent Millie Youmans was born in New York City on September 27, 1898 and grew-up on Central Park West on the site where the Mayflower Hotel once stood. His father, a prosperous hat manufacturer, moved the family to...

, Rudolf Friml
Rudolf Friml
Rudolf Friml was a composer of operettas, musicals, songs and piano pieces, as well as a pianist. After musical training and a brief performing career in his native Prague, Friml moved to the United States, where he became a composer...

 and Sigmund Romberg
Sigmund Romberg
Sigmund Romberg was a Hungarian-born American composer, best known for his operettas.-Biography:Romberg was born as Siegmund Rosenberg to a Jewish family in Gross-Kanizsa during the Austro-Hungarian kaiserlich und königlich monarchy period...

, but his most famous collaboration was with Richard Rodgers
Richard Rodgers
Richard Charles Rodgers was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. He also composed music for films and television. He is best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II...

.

Early life


Hammerstein was born Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, the son of Alice (née Nimmo) and William Hammerstein. His grandfather was German-born Jewish theater impresario Oscar Hammerstein I
Oscar Hammerstein I
Oscar Hammerstein I was a businessman, theater impresario and composer in New York City. His passion for opera led him to open several opera houses, and he rekindled opera's popularity in America...

, and his mother was the daughter of Scottish and English parents. Hammerstein was raised an Episcopalian
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

.

Although Hammerstein's father managed the Victoria Theatre for Oscar Hammerstein I and was a producer of vaudeville
Vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

 shows (he is generally credited with inventing the "pie-in-the-face" routine), he was opposed to his son's desire to participate in the arts. Hammerstein attended Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 from 1912–1916 and studied at Columbia Law School
Columbia Law School
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, is one of the oldest and most prestigious law schools in the United States. A member of the Ivy League, Columbia Law School is one of the professional graduate schools of Columbia University in New York City. It offers the J.D., LL.M., and J.S.D. degrees in...

 until 1917. It was not until his father's death on June 10, 1914, that he participated in his first play with the Varsity Show
Varsity Show
The Varsity Show is one of the oldest traditions at Columbia University and certainly its oldest performing arts presentation. Founded in 1894 as a fundraiser for the university's fledgling athletic teams, the Varsity Show now draws together the entire Columbia undergraduate community for a series...

, entitled On Your Way. Throughout the rest of his college career, Hammerstein wrote and performed in several Varsity Shows.

Early career



After quitting law school to pursue theatre, Hammerstein began his first professional collaboration, with Herbert Stothart
Herbert Stothart
Herbert Stothart was a song writer, arranger, conductor, and composer. He was also nominated for nine Oscars, winning Best Original Score for The Wizard of Oz.-Biography:...

, Otto Harbach
Otto Harbach
Otto Abels Harbach, born Otto Abels Hauerbach was an American lyricist and librettist of about 50 musical comedies...

 and Frank Mandel. He began as an apprentice and went on to form a 20-year collaboration with Harbach. Out of this collaboration came his first musical, Always You, for which he wrote the book and lyrics. It opened on Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 in 1921.

Throughout the next forty years, Hammerstein teamed with many other composers, including Jerome Kern
Jerome Kern
Jerome David Kern was an American composer of musical theatre and popular music. One of the most important American theatre composers of the early 20th century, he wrote more than 700 songs, used in over 100 stage works, including such classics as "Ol' Man River", "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", "A...

, with whom Hammerstein enjoyed a highly successful collaboration. In 1927, Kern and Hammerstein had their biggest hit, Show Boat
Show Boat
Show Boat is a musical in two acts with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. It was originally produced in New York in 1927 and in London in 1928, and was based on the 1926 novel of the same name by Edna Ferber. The plot chronicles the lives of those living and working...

, which is often revived and is still considered one of the masterpieces of the American musical theatre. "Here we come to a completely new genre – the musical play as distinguished from musical comedy. Now... the play was the thing, and everything else was subservient to that play. Now... came complete integration of song, humor and production numbers into a single and inextricable artistic entity."

Other Kern-Hammerstein musicals include Sweet Adeline
Sweet Adeline (musical)
Sweet Adeline is a musical with music by Jerome Kern, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and original Orchestration by Robert Russell Bennett. It premiered on Broadway in 1929...

, Music In the Air
Music in the Air
Music in the Air is a musical written by Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern . It introduced songs such as "The Song Is You", "In Egern on the Tegern See" and "I've Told Ev'ry Little Star"...

, Three Sisters, and Very Warm for May
Very Warm for May
Very Warm for May is a musical composed by Jerome Kern, with a libretto by Oscar Hammerstein II. It was the team's final score for Broadway, following their hits Show Boat, Sweet Adeline, and Music in the Air...

. Hammerstein also collaborated with Vincent Youmans
Vincent Youmans
Vincent Youmans was an American popular composer and Broadway producer.- Life :Vincent Millie Youmans was born in New York City on September 27, 1898 and grew-up on Central Park West on the site where the Mayflower Hotel once stood. His father, a prosperous hat manufacturer, moved the family to...

 (Wildflower
Wildflower
A wildflower is a flower that grows wild, meaning it was not intentionally seeded or planted. Yet "wildflower" meadows of a few mixed species are sold in seed packets. The term "wildflower" has been made vague by commercial seedsmen who are interested in selling more flowers or seeds more...

), Rudolf Friml
Rudolf Friml
Rudolf Friml was a composer of operettas, musicals, songs and piano pieces, as well as a pianist. After musical training and a brief performing career in his native Prague, Friml moved to the United States, where he became a composer...

 (Rose-Marie
Rose-Marie
Rose-Marie is an operetta-style musical with music by Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart, and book and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II. The story takes place in the Canadian Rockies and concerns Rose-Marie La Flemme, a French Canadian girl who loves miner Jim Kenyon...

), and Sigmund Romberg
Sigmund Romberg
Sigmund Romberg was a Hungarian-born American composer, best known for his operettas.-Biography:Romberg was born as Siegmund Rosenberg to a Jewish family in Gross-Kanizsa during the Austro-Hungarian kaiserlich und königlich monarchy period...

 (The Desert Song
The Desert Song
The Desert Song is an operetta with music by Sigmund Romberg and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach and Frank Mandel. It was inspired by the 1925 uprising of the Riffs, a group of Moroccan fighters, against French colonial rule. It was also inspired by stories of Lawrence of...

and The New Moon
The New Moon
The New Moon is the name of an operetta with music by Sigmund Romberg and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Frank Mandel, and Laurence Schwab. The show was the third and last in a string of Broadway hits for Romberg written in the style of Viennese operetta...

).

Rodgers and Hammerstein


Hammerstein's most successful and sustained collaboration began when he teamed up with Richard Rodgers
Richard Rodgers
Richard Charles Rodgers was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. He also composed music for films and television. He is best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II...

 to write a musical adaptation of the play Green Grow the Lilacs
Green Grow the Lilacs (play)
Green Grow the Lilacs is a 1930 play by Lynn Riggs named for the popular folk song of the same name. It was performed 64 times on Broadway, opening on January 26, 1931 and closing March 21, 1931. It also played January 19, 1931 through January 24, 1931 at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. It...

. Rodgers' first partner, Lorenz Hart
Lorenz Hart
Lorenz "Larry" Milton Hart was the lyricist half of the famed Broadway songwriting team Rodgers and Hart...

, was originally going to collaborate with Rodgers on this piece, but his alcoholism had become out of control, and he was unable to write. Hart was also not certain that the idea had much merit, and the two therefore went separate ways. The adaptation became the first Rodgers and Hammerstein
Rodgers and Hammerstein
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were a well-known American songwriting duo, usually referred to as Rodgers and Hammerstein. They created a string of popular Broadway musicals in the 1940s and 1950s during what is considered the golden age of the medium...

 collaboration, entitled Oklahoma!
Oklahoma!
Oklahoma! is the first musical written by composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in Oklahoma Territory outside the town of Claremore in 1906, it tells the story of cowboy Curly McLain and his romance...

, which opened on Broadway in 1943. It furthered the revolution begun by Show Boat
Show Boat
Show Boat is a musical in two acts with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. It was originally produced in New York in 1927 and in London in 1928, and was based on the 1926 novel of the same name by Edna Ferber. The plot chronicles the lives of those living and working...

, by thoroughly integrating all the aspects of musical theatre
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

, with the songs and dances arising out of and further developing the plot and characters. William A. Everett and Paul R. Laird wrote that this was a "show, that, like "Show Boat", became a milestone, so that later historians writing about important moments in twentieth-century theatre would begin to identify eras according to their relationship to "Oklahoma." "After Oklahoma!, Rodgers and Hammerstein were the most important contributors to the musical-play form – with such masterworks as Carousel, The King and I and South Pacific. The examples they set in creating vital plays, often rich with social thought, provided the necessary encouragement for other gifted writers to create musical plays of their own".

The partnership went on to produce such Broadway musicals as Carousel
Carousel (musical)
Carousel is the second stage musical by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II . The work premiered in 1945 and was adapted from Ferenc Molnár's 1909 play Liliom, transplanting its Budapest setting to the Maine coastline...

, Allegro
Allegro (musical)
Allegro is a musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II , their third collaboration for the stage. Opening on Broadway on October 10, 1947, the musical centers on the life of Joseph Taylor, Jr.—Joe follows in the footsteps of his father as a doctor, but is tempted by fortune and fame at...

, South Pacific
South Pacific (musical)
South Pacific is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The story draws from James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific, weaving together characters and elements from several of its...

, The King and I
The King and I
The King and I is a stage musical, the fifth by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The work is based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon and derives from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who became governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in...

, Me & Juliet, Pipe Dream
Pipe Dream (musical)
Pipe Dream is the seventh stage musical by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II; it premiered on Broadway on November 30, 1955. The work is based on John Steinbeck's short novel Sweet Thursday—Steinbeck wrote the novel, a sequel to Cannery Row, in the hope of having it adapted into...

, Flower Drum Song
Flower Drum Song
Flower Drum Song was the eighth stage musical by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. It was based on the 1957 novel, The Flower Drum Song, by Chinese-American author C. Y. Lee. The piece opened in 1958 on Broadway and was afterwards presented in the West End and on tour...

, and The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music is a musical by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It is based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers...

, as well as the musical film State Fair
State Fair (1945 film)
State Fair is a 1945 film directed by Walter Lang. The film a musical adaptation of the 1933 film of the same name, with original music by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The film starred Jeanne Crain, Dana Andrews, Dick Haymes, Vivian Blaine, Fay Bainter and Charles Winninger...

(and its stage adaptation of the same name
State Fair (musical)
State Fair is a musical with a book by Tom Briggs and Louis Mattioli, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and music by Richard Rodgers.Rodgers and Hammerstein originally adapted the Phil Stong novel of the same name for a 1945 movie musical, which was remade in 1962...

), and the television musical Cinderella, all featured in the revue
Revue
A revue is a type of multi-act popular theatrical entertainment that combines music, dance and sketches. The revue has its roots in 19th century American popular entertainment and melodrama but grew into a substantial cultural presence of its own during its golden years from 1916 to 1932...

 A Grand Night for Singing
A Grand Night for Singing
A Grand Night for Singing is a musical revue showcasing the music of Richard Rodgers and the lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II.Featuring songs from such lesser-known works as Allegro, Me and Juliet, State Fair, and Pipe Dream, modest successes like Flower Drum Song and hits like Carousel, Oklahoma!,...

. Hammerstein also wrote the book and lyrics for Carmen Jones
Carmen Jones
Carmen Jones is a 1943 Broadway musical starring Muriel Smith in the title role, later made into a 1954 musical film; the play also ran for a season in 1991 at London's Old Vic and most recently in London's Royal Festival Hall in the Southbank Centre in 2007. It is an updating of the Georges Bizet...

, an adaptation of Georges Bizet
Georges Bizet
Georges Bizet formally Alexandre César Léopold Bizet, was a French composer, mainly of operas. In a career cut short by his early death, he achieved few successes before his final work, Carmen, became one of the most popular and frequently performed works in the entire opera repertory.During a...

's opera Carmen
Carmen
Carmen is a French opéra comique by Georges Bizet. The libretto is by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on the novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée, first published in 1845, itself possibly influenced by the narrative poem The Gypsies by Alexander Pushkin...

with an all-black cast that became a 1943 Broadway musical and a 1954 film.

Death


Hammerstein died of stomach cancer
Stomach cancer
Gastric cancer, commonly referred to as stomach cancer, can develop in any part of the stomach and may spread throughout the stomach and to other organs; particularly the esophagus, lungs, lymph nodes, and the liver...

 at his home in Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Doylestown is a borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia. As of the 2010 census, the borough population was 8,380. The borough is the county seat of Bucks County.- History :...

, at 65, shortly after the opening of The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music is a musical by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It is based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers...

on Broadway. The final song he wrote was "Edelweiss
Edelweiss (song)
"Edelweiss" is a show tune from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. It is named after the edelweiss, a white flower found high in the Alps...

", which was added during rehearsals near the end of the second act. This was not an Austrian folk song but had been written specifically for the musical. After his death, The Sound of Music was made into the hit 1965 film adaptation
The Sound of Music (film)
Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music is a 1965 American musical film directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film is based on the Broadway musical The Sound of Music, with songs written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and with the musical...

, which won the Academy Award
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 for Best Picture.

The lights of Times Square
Times Square
Times Square is a major commercial intersection in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets...

 were turned off for one minute, and London's West End
West End of London
The West End of London is an area of central London, containing many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings, and entertainment . Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross...

lights were dimmed in recognition of his contribution to the musical. He was cremated, and his ashes were buried at the Ferncliff Cemetery
Ferncliff Cemetery
Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum is located on Secor Road in the hamlet of Hartsdale, town of Greenburgh, Westchester County, New York, about 25 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. It was founded in 1902, and is non-sectarian...

 in Hartsdale, New York
Hartsdale, New York
Hartsdale is a hamlet and a census-designated place located in the town of Greenburgh, Westchester County, New York. The population was 5,293 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Hartsdale is located at ....

. A memorial plaque was unveiled at Southwark Cathedral
Southwark Cathedral
Southwark Cathedral or The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie, Southwark, London, lies on the south bank of the River Thames close to London Bridge....

, England, on May 24, 1961. He was survived by his second wife Dorothy (Blanchard) Jacobson (m. May 13, 1929) and his three children, William Hammerstein and Alice Hammerstein Mathias by first wife Myra Finn, and James Hammerstein
James Hammerstein
James Hammerstein was an American theatre director and producer. He was the son of Oscar Hammerstein II and his wife Dorothy ....

 by Blanchard.
Dorothy, b. June 7, 1899, died Aug. 3, 1987 in New York.

Reputation


He was probably the best "book writer" in Broadway history – he made the story, not the songs or the stars, central to the musical and brought it to full maturity as an art form. According to Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist for stage and film. He is the winner of an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards including the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, multiple Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Laurence Olivier Award...

, "What few people understand is that Oscar's big contribution to the theater was as a theoretician, as a Peter Brook, as an innovator. People don't understand how experimental Show Boat and Oklahoma! felt at the time they were done. Oscar is not about the 'lark that is learning to pray' – that's easy to make fun of. He's about Allegro."

His reputation for being sentimental is based largely on the movie versions of the musicals, especially The Sound of Music, in which a song sung by those in favour of reaching an accommodation with the Nazis, "No Way to Stop It
No Way to Stop It
"No Way to Stop It" is a show tune from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, but not included in the later film version from 1965.-Context:...

", was cut. As recent revivals of Show Boat, Oklahoma!, Carousel, and The King and I in London and New York show, Hammerstein was one of the more tough-minded and socially conscious American musical theater artists. According to Richard Kislan, "The shows of Rodgers and Hammerstein were the product of sincerity. In the light of criticism directed against them and their universe of sweetness and light, it is important to understand that they believed sincerely in what they wrote." According to Marc Bauch, "The Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals are romantic musical plays. Love is important."
According to The Rogers and Hammerstein Story by Stanley Green, "For three minutes, on the night of September first, the entire Times Square area in New York City was blacked out in honor of the man who had done so much to light up that particular part of the world. From 8:57 to 9:00pm, every neon sign and every lightbulb was turned off and all traffic was halted between 42nd Street and 53rd Street, and between 8th Ave and the Avenue of the Americas. A crowd of 5,000 people, many with heads bowed, assembled at the base of the statue of Father Duffy on Times Square where two trumpeters blew taps. It was the most complete blackout on Broadway since World War II, and the greatest tribute of its kind ever paid to one man."

Songs


Hammerstein contributed the lyrics to 850 songs, according to The Complete Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II, edited by Amy Asch. Some well-known songs are "Ol' Man River
Ol' Man River
"Ol' Man River" is a song in the 1927 musical Show Boat that expresses the African American hardship and struggles of the time with the endless, uncaring flow of the Mississippi River; it is sung from the point-of-view of a dock worker on a showboat, and is the most famous song from the show...

" from Show Boat, "Indian Love Call
Indian Love Call
"Indian Love Call" is a song from Rose-Marie, a 1924 operetta-style Broadway musical with music by Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart, and book and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II...

" from Rose-Marie, "People Will Say We're in Love
People Will Say We're in Love
"People Will Say We're In Love" is a show tune from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! . In the original Broadway production, the song was introduced by Alfred Drake and Joan Roberts.-Plot context:...

" and "Oklahoma" (which has been the official state song of Oklahoma since 1953) from Oklahoma!, "Some Enchanted Evening
Some Enchanted Evening (song)
"Some Enchanted Evening" is a show tune from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific.In the musical, it is sung as a solo by Emile de Becque, the French plantation owner, who falls in love with the American navy nurse Nellie Forbush. In this song he sings of seizing the moment so...

", from South Pacific, "Getting to Know You
Getting to Know You (song)
"Getting to Know You" is a show tune from the 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I. It was first sung by Gertrude Lawrence in the original Broadway production and later by Marni Nixon who dubbed for Deborah Kerr in the 1956 film adaptation...

" from The King and I, and the title song, "The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music (song)
“The Sound of Music” is the title song from The Sound of Music, composed by Richard Rodgers to lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. It was originally sung by Mary Martin in the 1959 stage musical of the same name. It was sung by Julie Andrews in the 1961 film, with a reprise by the Von Trapp family...

" as well as "Climb Ev'ry Mountain
Climb Ev'ry Mountain
"Climb Ev'ry Mountain" is a show tune from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. Here it is sung at the close of the first act by the Mother Abbess...

".

Several albums of Hammerstein's musicals were named to the "Songs of the Century
Songs of the Century
The "Songs of the Century" list is part of an education project by the Recording Industry Association of America , the National Endowment for the Arts, and Scholastic Inc. that aims to "promote a better understanding of America’s musical and cultural heritage" in American schools...

" list as compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America
Recording Industry Association of America
The Recording Industry Association of America is a trade organization that represents the recording industry distributors in the United States...

 (RIAA), the National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. Its current...

, and Scholastic Corporation:
  • The Sound of Music — # 36
  • Oklahoma! — # 66
  • South Pacific — # 224
  • The King and I — # 249
  • Show Boat — # 312

Awards and legacy


Hammerstein won two Oscars for best original song—in 1941 for "The Last Time I Saw Paris" in the film Lady Be Good
Lady Be Good (1941 film)
Lady Be Good is the title of an MGM musical film which was released in 1941.The film starred dancer Eleanor Powell along with Ann Sothern, Robert Young, Lionel Barrymore, and Red Skelton. It was directed by Norman Z. McLeod and produced by Arthur Freed...

, and in 1945 for "It Might as Well Be Spring
It Might as Well Be Spring
"It Might as Well Be Spring" is a song from the 1945 film, State Fair. With music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year. State Fair was the only original film score by Rodgers and Hammerstein. In the film the song was...

" in State Fair
State Fair (1945 film)
State Fair is a 1945 film directed by Walter Lang. The film a musical adaptation of the 1933 film of the same name, with original music by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The film starred Jeanne Crain, Dana Andrews, Dick Haymes, Vivian Blaine, Fay Bainter and Charles Winninger...

.
In 1950, the team of Rodgers and Hammerstein received The Hundred Year Association of New York
The Hundred Year Association of New York
The Hundred Year Association of New York, founded in 1927, is a non-profit organization in New York City aimed at recognizing and rewarding dedication and service to the City of New York by businesses and organizations that have been in operation in the city for a century or more and by individuals...

's Gold Medal Award "in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York."

Hammerstein won eight Tony Awards, six for lyrics or book, and two as producer of the Best Musical (South Pacific and The Sound of Music). Rodgers and Hammerstein began writing together before the era of the Tonys: Oklahoma! opened in 1943 and Carousel in 1945, and the Tony Awards were not awarded until 1947. Rodgers and Hammerstein received a special Pulitzer Prize for Oklahoma! in 1944. The Oscar Hammerstein II Center for Theater Studies at Columbia University was established in 1981 with a $1 million gift from his family.

His advice and work influenced Sondheim, a friend of the Hammerstein family from childhood. Sondheim has attributed his success in theater directly to Hammerstein's influence and guidance.

The Oscar Hammerstein Award
Oscar Hammerstein Award
The Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre was created in 1988 by Janet Hayes Walker, founding artistic director of the York Theatre, with the endorsement of the Hammerstein family and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization...

 for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre is presented annually. The York Theatre Company in New York City is the Administrator of the award. The 2009 awardees are Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock
Jerrold Lewis "Jerry" Bock was an American musical theater composer. He received the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama with Sheldon Harnick for their 1959 musical Fiorello! and the Tony Award for Best Composer and Lyricist for the 1964 musical Fiddler on the Roof with...

 and Sheldon Harnick
Sheldon Harnick
Sheldon Harnick is an American lyricist best known for his collaborations with composer Jerry Bock on hit musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof....

. Past awardees are composers such as Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist for stage and film. He is the winner of an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards including the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, multiple Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Laurence Olivier Award...

 and performers such as Carol Channing
Carol Channing
Carol Elaine Channing is an American singer, actress, and comedienne. She is the recipient of three Tony Awards , a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination...

. The 2010 award will go to Thomas Meehan
Thomas Meehan (writer)
Thomas Meehan is an American writer, best known for Annie, The Producers and Hairspray.-Life and career:Meehan grew up in Suffern, New York, and graduated from Hamilton College...

.

Further reading

  • Bauch, Marc (2003), The American Musical, Tectum Verlag DE, ISBN 3-8288-8458-X
  • Fordin, Hugh (1995), Getting to Know Him:A Biography of Oscar Hammerstein II, Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-306-80668-1
  • Hischak, Thomas s. (2007), The Rodgers and Hammerstein Encyclopedia, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-313-34140-0
  • Kislan, Richard (1995), "The Musical: A Look at the American Musical Theater", Hal Leonard Corporation, ISBN 1-55783-217-X

External links


(second listing)