A complete guide to Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals
Learn all about Rodgers and Hammerstein shows, including Carousel, Oklahoma!, The King and I, The Sound of Music and more.
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II are some of the most influential musical theatre lyricists and composers of all time. Between them, their stage shows and respective film adaptations have earned them Tonys, Academy Awards and even a Pulitzer Prize.
Their catalogue of best-selling musicals include Carousel, The King and I as well as some rarely performed gems. They even ushered in new eras of Broadway musicals too, with the likes of Oklahoma! transforming modern musical theatre forevermore. Take a listen to every Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that’s been released.
See Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals in London
Don't miss out on Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals in the capital. See musicals like South Pacific and Oklahoma! in London in 2022. Discover more about Golden Age musicals with us.
South Pacific (1949)
Based on James A. Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific, the musical earned the pair their first Pulitzer Prize for Drama. As an American nurse finds herself stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II, issues of race and relationships are called into question. But, in order to correctly identify military terms told in the musical, the pair insisted the help of Joshua Logan, an American writer, to help ground South Pacific in historical truth.
Book South Pacific tickets on London Theatre.
Rodgers and Hammerstein made history with Oklahoma!, and it’s considered to be one of the first original ‘book musicals’. Set at the time when Oklahoma was becoming an American state, the musical dealt with two potential suitors vying for courtship with local farmgirl Laurey Williams.
There’s some Golden Age songs in Oklahoma!, including “People Will Say We’re In Love” and “Oh What A Beautiful Mornin’”. Over the years, Oklahoma! stars include Maria Friedman, Hugh Jackman and Josefina Gabrielle.
Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals in London
Many Rodgers and Hammersteins have previously played in London. However it may be a little while until these shows are revived. Check out the potential Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals you could see in London.
The echoing cries of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ sung in Carousel have been heard in theatres worldwide for over 70 years. Carousel tells of the love story between carnival worker Billy Bigelow and a local millworker named Julie Jordan, with audiences having all the fun of the fair at this musical without being spun round in circles. Even Stephen Sondheim gave the musical high praise.
Allegro hasn’t been seen in the West End before, but it made history for the writer-composer duo as a large cast resembled a traditional Greek chorus on stage. Following a man who is trying to deal with the problems thrown up in a modern, fast-paced world, Allegro was considered to be too serious and caught up within itself.
The King and I (1951)
Inspiration for The King and I came from stumbling upon a novel. When an agent read Margaret Landon’s Anna and the King of Siam, they immediately approached Rodgers and Hammerstein to create a musical based on it, and The King and I was born. We’ve been getting to know the musical for over six decades, which tells of an British schoolteacher who is hired to modernise Thailand.
Me and Juliet (1953)
Following the backstage romance of a chorus girl and a stage manager, Me and Juliet played 358 performances on Broadway and ran for six weeks in Chicago. It’s typically left in theatre history, failing to garner any positive reviews.
Pipe Dream (1955)
Based on John Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, the 1955 musical tells of a romance between marine biologist Doc and a woman who is written to be a prostitute. It’ll be a miracle like a pipe dream to see this musical in London though, as it’s never been revived or staged anywhere apart from Broadway.
Julie Andrews received an Emmy Award for starring as the titular princess in the 1957 television film, watched live by over 100 million people. Cinderella was later revived four decades later, with a predominantly African American cast including Brandy Norwood and Whitney Houston.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella was finally pulled by horse and carriage to Broadway, starring Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana.
Flower Drum Song (1958)
Flower Drum Song tells of a wealthy Chinese refugee who attempts to retain his Asian culture while living in San Francisco. Torn between his Chinese roots and the American way of life, he feels pressure to mix East/West identities. Rodgers and Hammerstein didn’t create this musical on an original idea though; they took inspiration for their 1958 musical from C. Y. Lee’s The Flower Drum Song.
The Sound of Music (1959)
You may think The Sound of Music is all Julie Andrews, but think again. Set during the era of World War Two, Maria solves one problem by looking after the von Trapp children, but falls in love with their father. As the war intensifies, Maria and Captain von Trapp hatch a plan to flee Austria and escape the brutality of Nazi Germany.
First staged in 1959, the original production won best musical and later transferred for over 2,000 performances at London’s Palace Theatre. But the hills really did come alive thanks to Andrew, whose career-defining performance as Maria sprung the musical to worldwide fame.
A Grand Night for Singing (1993)
More of a cabaret than a new musical, this 1993 production was a celebration of all things Rodgers and Hammerstein. The event featured songs from their impressive musical theatre catalogue as the shining star of the show, including musical numbers cut from their earlier works. The production ran for 41 previews and had 52 performances at the top of the Rockefeller Center.
State Fair (1996)
The musical State Fair received its Broadway premiere in 1996, however audiences had been familiar with the story for over 60 years. Based on Phil Stong’s novel of the same name, the musical illuminates the lives of farming families across the United States, focusing on the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. Finding romance on the land as well as earning praise for their livestock, there’s plenty that goes on at this State Fair!
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