Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution

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Henry Holt and Company, Apr 3, 2018 - Biography & Autobiography - 386 pages

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.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ghr4 - LibraryThing

Todd Purdum's Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution, though ultimately an affectionate portrait (indeed the title gives it away) of the legendary songwriting team, does ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nbmars - LibraryThing

I loved this book. I was already predisposed to like the story, because I am a great fan of musicals and in particular, those of Rodgers and Hammerstein. This is the incredibly talented team that came ... Read full review


All They Cared About Was the Show
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A Quality of Yearning
Away We Go
Bustin Out
So Far
Enchanted Evening
Parallel Wives
Beyond Broadway
Auf Wiedersehen
Walking Alone
Bloom and Grow Forever

Catastrophic Success

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About the author (2018)

Todd S. Purdum is the author of An Idea Whose Time Has Come and A Time of Our Choosing. He is a staff writer for The Atlantic, having previously worked for more than twenty years at The New York Times, where he covered beats from City Hall to the White House and served as Los Angeles bureau chief. He has also been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a senior writer at Politico. A native of Macomb, Illinois, and a graduate of Princeton University, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Dee Dee Myers, and their two children.

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