My love of Rodgers and Hammerstein

I fell in love with Rodgers and Hammerstein when I was a child. I fell in love with Sound of Music- it has a wonderful cast of characters, an incredible plot, along with fun and exciting songs. I love more than just Sound of Music- there are other Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals that I love. Just the others did not get in my life in childhood. I know I fell in love with two more when I was still a student at Central Piedmont Community College. I feel like nothing can really go wrong with this duo. These are Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals I have seen.

Sound of Music

I already stated I love Sound of Music. Maria is such an incredible protagonist. Julie Andrews was my first Maria. I love the songs from “Do Re Mi”, My Favorite Things”, “Lonely Goatherd”, “Something Good”, “Edelweiss”, “Climb Every Mountain”, and “Sound of Music”. Sound of Music actually was the final musical the duo did together.

South Pacific

This is a musical romance. Like almost all Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, there is a double romance. The main story is between Emelie and Nellie, but the subplot is between Liat and Joe Cable. It is weird to think that this musical could almost be a tragedy if the main romance was between Liat and Joe Cable. From “Some Enchanted Evening”, “This Nearly Was Mine”, “Younger than Springtime”, “There is nothing like a Dame”, and “I’ve Got to Wash that Man outta my Hair”. I feel like the antagonist of South Pacific is actually a theme: Racism. Through, “You Got be Carefully Taught”, you realize that you are not born racist, but are taught it: that is something I love about that song. This is a SPOILER: but Joe Cable does die in this musical- that is why if the romances were switched, South Pacific would be a tragedy. But due to being between Emelie and Nellie, South Pacific is a happy musical.

Oklahoma

This musical romance also has a double romance. It took be a while to realize this, but this musical is home to two love triangles. Curly and Laurey is what the musical is between, but Jud does add the third thing: but he is the antagonist of Oklahoma. The other love triangle is between Ali Hakim, Ado Annie, and Will Parker. However, these two love triangles are a bit weak: due to two characters fighting in both. However, the couples become who you want them to be: meaning it will end up as Curly and Laurey and Ado Annie and Will Parker. This is noticed through song and through characters. Considering that Jud is abusive, you know you want Curly and Laurey together- Curly does everything he can be with Laurey.

Songs like “Oklahoma”, “Kansas City”, “Surrey with the Fringe on Top”, “People will Say we’re in Love”, and “Oh, What a beautiful Morning”. People think Oklahoma is basically revolving around the dance, but in reality not true. It is about Curly and Laurey’s relationship, Oklahoma becoming a State, and between Ado Annie and Alik Hakim.

Cinderella

I don’t know why this keeps on happening, but for some odd reason I keep on forgetting about their Cinderella. The past Friday, I saw the 1957 televised recording of the musical, which stars Julie Andrews as Cinderella. The only problem with it was that it was way out of sync and has some annoying background noise.

Cinderella become popular through Disney. I love the songs, “My Own Little Corner”, “Impossible”, and “Ten Minutes Ago”. I love Cinderella- as in both Disney adaptions: I really love the live action one with Lily James as Cinderella. If Disney did not create the original Cinderella, it is hard to think that this story wouldn’t have become that famous.

Still, don’t know why I keep on forgetting about this one. I think that might have to do with being associated with Disney. I still love this musical- Rodgers and Hammerstein are extremely good at creating memorable songs.

King and I

I don’t exactly love this musical, but I don’t really dislike it either. I actually can parallel Anna with Maria. They are both strong-willed and called difficult women. They play a similar role: as in one being governess and the other a teacher. Both teach children. King and I still has some songs I love: “Getting to Know You”, “Shall We Dance”, and “I Whistle a Happy Tune”.

Carousel

Of all Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals I have been around, Carousel is my least favorite. It has to do with plot and partly due to songs. Like expected, there is a double romance- Bill and Julie, and Carrie and Mr. Snow. Julie and Carrie are best friends. The plot really really confuses me. I keep on forgetting about the songs.

Three Sections I Can Divide Musicals In

Well, I can easily separate meaningful musicals into three categories. Those are my childhood musicals, Fletcher musicals, and college musicals. These are all self-explanatory meaning you can easily describe all three. Let me put this into more perspective.

My childhood musicals were ALL musicals that entered my life before I started middle school. Beauty and the Beast, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wizard of OZ, Aladdin, Lion King, Grease, Sound of Music, and Annie fit under this category.

What about the Fletcher musicals? Well, I call these Fletcher musicals because they entered my life when I was still a student at Fletcher. I went to that school from 6th -12th grade. That school was a small K-12 school. Most of the musicals I saw in this time frame were movie musicals. These musicals were Wicked, Mamma Mia, Enchanted, and The High School Musical series. So this set of musicals were the smallest.

College Musicals- I went to two colleges. Central Piedmont Community College and Gardner Webb University were the ones I went to. There were a lot of musicals I fell in love. They were Rent, Godspell, Les Mis, South Pacific, Oklahoma, Newsies, Phantom of the Opera, Frozen, Man of La Mancha, White Christmas, Music Man, Pippin, Singing in the Rain, My Fair Lady, Greatest Showman, and Fiddler on the Roof. This time frame was where my passion for musicals came from- thanks to Les Mis, which challenged everything. That is why there is a lot. What was amazing about CPCC is just how professional they feel: I literally called their production of “Les Mis” phenomenal. CPCC is where I started to get more into theatre: I ushered twice for Les Mis and once for Some Enchanted Evening.

Kansas City

Time for my first Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that I love. How can anyone NOT love those two- they were the famous duo during the Golden Age of Musical. True, there is a not a musical called Kansas City, but there is a musical song called “Kansas City”. That’s right- another musical I love belongs to Oklahoma. It takes place in Oklahoma Territory- that means Oklahoma was not yet a state in the US, but was about to. So, why do I love Oklahoma.

The Songs

Okay, who can not find themselves loving these romantic and exciting songs. The musical is a combo of the two. From “Oh What a Beautiful Morning”, “Kansas City”, the title song: “Oklahoma”.

Possible Spoilers:

The Story

There are people who think Oklahoma is just about this dance. But, that is not exactly the story of Oklahoma. It is Curly and Laurey’s story- their love. Conflict comes when we discover Jud might have something for Laurey—–however he is abusive. This love triangle is a bit weak- however, we know how we want things to end up. Then, there is a 2nd romance- Will and Ado Annie- and guess what someone else loves Ado Annie.

So, two love triangles in one musical, and they both are weak- but we do know how we want things to end up. It is pretty much two men fighting over their girl, but yet it is not fully weak knowing how you want things to end. This musical is NOT just about the romances or the dance/auction, but also about Oklahoma becoming a state.

The Characters

Curly is our main character. We meet him first. You might wonder at first why he even is a wonderful character. Well, throughout ALL of Oklahoma, he is trying to make sure Jud does NOT end up with Laurey. His love for Laurey is that strong. The other characters I love are Laurey, Will Parker and Ado Annie. So basically the major characters.

Jud is the character I have a strong dislike towards. His our chief antagonist. The fact he is abusive does say something.

Non-Tour Musicals I Saw

True, I have seen mostly musicals on tour. However, there have been a select amount of musicals I have seen either through school, local, or through Broadway/West End. This post will bring up those musicals and will try to be in order.

  1. Wicked- 2006
  2. Oliver- 2007 (don’t remember seeing)
  3. Godspell- 2012
  4. Les Mis-2013
  5. Les Mis-2013 (as an usher)
  6. Les Mis-2013 (as an usher)
  7. Scrooge-2014
  8. Music Man- 2015
  9. Les Mis-2015
  10. Little Shop of Horrors- 2017
  11. Oklahoma- 2018
  12. Grease-2018
  13. Newsies-2018

This is a combo of Barter Theater, Pease Auditorium (which no longer exists), Halton Theater, Dover Theater, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Gershwin Theater and Queen’s Theater. Of that list- the only musical I have no memory of seeing is Oliver at Barter Theater. The rest are musicals I remember seeing.

My Favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein Musicals

One of my favorite duos in musical theatre are Rodgers and Hammerstein. They are one of the most famous composer and lyricist teams. They are part of the Golden Age of musicals- their Oklahoma changed the world of musicals forever in 1943. The singing and acting element was already interrogated into the plot- Oklahoma added the final piece to the musical- they were able to add dance to the plot; it wasn’t like it was just there to just be there- dance finally made sense. What are my top favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals?

Oklahoma

  • I have loved Oklahoma for five years now. The love began with the film. It only was last year when I saw the stage show. Oklahoma is a romantic musical comedy with double romances with one being more important than the other. Now, let’s me say why I love Oklahoma.

Songs

  • Everyone know you can’t love a musical without good songs. From “Surrey With the Fringe on Top”, “People Will Say We’re in Love”, “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’, and the title song, “Oklahoma” makes Oklahoma such a memorable musical. Of course, those are not all the songs. Just giving examples.

Characters

  • I am still trying to figure out WHO they are. I do love Curly, Laurey, Will Parker, and Ado Annie. I have such a strong hate towards Jud, which makes me love Curly even more. That sounds a bit crazy- but it is true. Look, Oklahoma consists of two love triangles, and one of them consists of Curly, Laurey, and Jud. Curly will do anything to make sure Laurey does not end up with Jud, who is the villain of Oklahoma: Jud is a horrible person who is abusive who will harm both Curly and Laurey. Any R and H musical has two romances- the other is a love triangle- but once again: I love Will Parker and Ado Annie together. Still- I barely know these characters. Yes- Curly and Jud fight for Laurey and Will Parker and Ali Hakhim fight for Ado Annie, but who each end up is who I would see fit for each of them.

Plot

  • Many people think Oklahoma’s plot is too simple- meaning it revolves around this social event. I do not really see it that way. Oklahoma is more of a romance- the one between Curly and Laurey. They are in love with each other, but do not like admitting it: at least they eventually do. It also has the subplot between Will Parker and Ado Annie despite the fact that Annie has a hard time making up her mind even though the one she truly is in love with is Will Parker. Well, it really is two love triangles- I would rather not have the third person in each scenario, but it is clear who that it is. Oklahoma’s love triangles are weak compared to others I have seen, but they are not fully weak. It also is dealing with Oklahoma eventually becoming a state: it only is United States territory at the time it takes place in.

South Pacific

  • My love for South Pacific began at the same time my love for Oklahoma began. As a matter of fact, it was in the same week. I was leant both of the movie right before a snowstorm. So, I watched both movies five years ago. So far, I only saw the movie of South Pacific. Like any R/H musical, there is a double love story.

Songs

  • I love the songs in South Pacific. The songs are a combo of exciting, love, and heartbreaking songs. From exciting songs like “There is Nothing Like a Dame” to romantic songs like “Some Enchanted Evening” to heartbreaking love songs like “This Nearly Was Mine”. My favorite song in South Pacific is “Some Enchanted Evening”- I do not know why, but I somehow know.

Characters

  • Just like Oklahoma, I know names of characters, but still barely know WHO they are. There is Emelie, Nellie, Joe Cable, Liat, and Bloddy Mary. My favorites of this list are Emelie and Nellie, who serve as the main couple in South Pacific. Out of those two, Nellie is our protagonist. There actually isn’t an antagonist in South Pacific- I think South Pacific is more of a man vs. self conflict.

Plot

  • South Pacific is a romantic musical comedy. It is crazy to think about how easily the musical could have been a tragedy, but it isn’t. It is about Nellie and Emelie’s romance and one a subplot is Joe Cable and Liat’s romance. Joe Cable and Liat’s romance is actually tragic. An underlying theme found in South Pacific is racism, and I think that theme might be our “antagonist”. One of the songs is brilliant- “You’ve got to be carefully taught”- the brilliance of that songs come from the fact that your’e taught not born racist.

Sound of Music

  • This is my favorite and the longest R/H musical that has been part of my life. It is actually one of my childhood musicals. Childhood musicals are important because they help form a foundation for what musicals are. They hold something that no other musical can achieve. I first saw it through the movie, and in 2015 saw the stage show. I was surprised by my reaction during “Edelweiss”. When I saw it live, I was crying during “Edelweiss”, and that was a reaction that was brand new to me. I never once thought the songs in Sound of Music would have sadness in them.

Songs

  • These songs are easily singable and memorable. From “Do Re Mi” to “My Favorite Things” to “Sound of Music” to “So Long Farewell” to “Climb Every Mountain” to “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” to “Something Good” to “Edelweiss”. As a matter of fact, the first musical theatre song I memorized the lyrics to are “Do Re Mi”. There is no way you can’t dislike these songs. “Edelweiss” is my favorite song in Sound of Music.

Characters

  • I love a number of these characters. Maria is an easy likable protagonist. She is amazing with the children and teaches them to sing. She helps bring happiness into a house that used to filled with darkness. The Captain may be stern with Maria and the children, but yet still loves his children. He eventually warms up to Maria after hearing his children sing- all he needed in his life is music.

Plot

  • How in the world can you dislike the plot? I really do not need to say more. Honestly- how can any musical theatre fanatic dislike Sound of Music? It is my favorite of the classics- when I mean “classic”, I am talking about the Golden Age of Musicals.