Richard Rodgers (June 28, 1902 - December 30, 1979)
Born: 28th June, 1902
Died: 30th December, 1979
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Composer
Region: New York City, New York
Notable works: "The Sound of Music", "Oklahoma!", "The King and I", "Pal Joey", "The Boys from Syracuse", "Babes in Arms", "It Might as Well Be Spring", "South Pacific"

Richard Rodgers Facts


Richard Rodgers, (born June 28, 1902, New York City--died Dec. 30, 1979, New York City), one of the dominant composers of American musical comedy, known especially for his works in collaboration with the librettists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II.

As a youth Rodgers composed songs for amateur boys' club shows. In 1918 he entered Columbia University. There he met Hart, with whom he collaborated on Columbia's varsity show of 1919, Fly with Me. After a year and a half he left Columbia, intending to work full time composing for the musical theatre. He studied composition for two years at the Institute of Musical Art (now Juilliard School of Music), New York City, and produced several amateur shows with Hart.

Rodgers and Hart's first professional success was a revue, The Garrick Gaieties (1925), which included the song "Manhattan." In 1936 their comedy On Your Toes was produced. This production, with the jazz ballet Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (choreography by George Balanchine), introduced ballet and established serious dance as a permanent part of musical comedy. Among their other collaborations were Babes in Arms (1937), including the songs "My Funny Valentine" and "The Lady Is a Tramp"; I Married an Angel (1938); and The Boys from Syracuse (1938), adapted from Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors. Their Pal Joey (1940), adapted by John O'Hara from a series of his short stories, turned away from purely escapist entertainment to serious drama. Too realistic for its time when first produced, it was revived in 1952 with enormous success. Among its songs was "Bewitched." Their final collaboration, one year before Hart's death, was By Jupiter (1942).

In 1942 Rodgers began working with Hammerstein on an adaptation of Lynn Riggs's play Green Grow the Lilacs. The result, the 1944 Pulitzer Prize-winning Oklahoma! (1943; film, 1955), enjoyed a then-unprecedented Broadway run of 2,248 performances. Choreographed by Agnes de Mille and including the songs "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning," "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top," and "People Will Say We're in Love," it marked the beginning of a 17-year partnership that ended with Hammerstein's death. Carousel (1945) and the experimental Allegro (1947) were somewhat less successful, but South Pacific (1949) had a Broadway run almost as long as that of Oklahoma! and won a second Pulitzer Prize (1950). Unusual in its treatment of racial prejudice and skillful matching of music to character, it included the songs "Younger than Springtime," "Some Enchanted Evening," and "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair." There followed The King and I (1951), remarkable for its exotic character; Pipe Dream (1955); The Flower Drum Song (1958); and one of their major successes, The Sound of Music (1959).

Rodgers also wrote the music for the documentary film Victory at Sea (1952).

Top 10 Richard Rodgers quotes

Whenever I get an idea for a song, even before jotting down the notes, I can hear it in the orchestra, I can smell it in the scenery, I can see the kind of actor who will sing it, and I am aware of an audience listening to it.
I am
I can
In many ways, a song-writing partnership is like a marriage. Apart from just liking each other, a lyricist and a composer should be able to spend long periods of time together - around the clock if need be - without getting on each other's nerves. Their goals, outlooks, and basic philosophies should be similar.
Long periods
A song is a lot of things. But, first of all, a song is the voice of its time. Setting words to music gives them weight, makes then somehow easier to say, and it helps them to be remembered.
First of all
It may be that that we can sing what we often cannot say, whether it be from shyness, fear, lack of the right words or the passion or dramatic gift to express them. More souls have rallied to more causes by the strains of music than by straining rhetoric.
I don't believe that a writer does something wonderful spontaneously. I believe it's the result of years of living, of study, reading, his very personality and temperament. At one particular moment, all these come together and the artist 'expresses' himself.
I believe
I have to laugh to myself. I don't find it work to write music, because I enjoy it. I'd find an evening of bridge hard work because you have to think like hell, and at the end, you get nothing for it.
Hard work
I would like, if I can, to broaden the possibilities of the musical theater. I think there's a better 'Oklahoma!' someplace, a better 'West Side Story.' And I'd like to be mixed up in it.
I can
I think
Musical theater
There isn't anything I wanted to do that I haven't. At the same time, there isn't anything I've ever done that I didn't want to do better.
Same time
If a composer is to reach his audience emotionally - and surely that's what theatre music is all about - he must reach the people through sounds they can relate to.
If somebody wants to sing my songs after I'm gone, nobody will be happier than my dead body.

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