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Publisher's Summary

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 lovers in general. He shows that what Rodgers and Hammerstein wrought was truly something wonderful. 

©2018 Todd S. Purdum (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

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very interesting

Enjoyed it immensely. I knew the music but the background to the creation and development of the musicals that have become so well known was enlightening.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Rediscovery of an innovative team of artists

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Highly recommend. This book is a terrific description of R&H’s journey individually and as a team.

What did you like best about this story?

I think some modern audiences may approach R&H’s work with a dismissive attitude. This book provides plenty of evidence of their continued importance and relevance. There’s no Hamilton without Oklahoma.

What about Todd S. Purdum’s performance did you like?

He’s clearly passionate about his subject matter, and his voice, pace, and cadence are pleasant.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Something Wonderful

I was probably predisposed to liking this book as I was raised on Rodgers & Hammerstein. My father gleefully belted out “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” nearly every Sunday to get me and my sisters up and moving. But this book is really a history of musical theater, and it’s very well written. The historical context Purdum provides gave me ideas for my history classroom, and this year I used themes from R&H when I taught students about Japanese internment, prejudice, and the Red Scare.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fabulous book about Rodgers & Hammerstein!!!

If you, like I, grew up in the 1950s loving the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein this book is for you! It is an excellent account of the lives of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, II and their subsequent careers together which tragically ended in 1960 with the death of Oscar Hammerstein, II. I was so inspired by this lovely book that I have started watching all those, dare I say wonderful, Broadway musicals now on film. Among these musicals are OKLAHOMA!, CAROUSEL, THE KING & I, SOUTH PACIFIC, and of course THE SOUND OF MUSIC. I agree with the author that the film version of CAROUSEL is the weakest adaptation. There is very little "chemistry between Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan. The Blu-ray versions are excellent.

I have a general rule that an author should NEVER read his or her book. In this case the author, Todd S. Purdum does an outstanding job of reading his book for Audible.

I highly recommend this book. It brought back so many wonderful memories of those Broadway musicals!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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magnificemt!

Indispensible for lovers of R&H
author's narration is spot on. This is a must read.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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An intimate take on this amazing duo

This fantastic biography not only traces the history of the work of these two musical icons, it also weaves the human element into the narrative, warts and all. They were flawed humans who used their artistry as an honest outlet changing American theatre forever. As a lifelong professional commercial songwriter, I was stunned at the astounding level of wealth created by R&H catalog. It makes todays' songwriter royalties pale by comparison in the age of free digital distribution and exploitation. By carefully controlling both the means and terms of distribution of their work, R&H were able to maximize their well deserved compensation for their work; a scenario that unfortunately no longer exists for most songwriters. This bio also is a fantastic parallel history of musical theatre itself along with a healthy dose of NYC history to boot. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was sad when it ended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not enough credit

Loved this story of Broadway’s greatest team. They don’t get the credit they deserve today with the likes of Sondheim and Miranda flooding the bill. Their music is the music of our lives

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Sweetest Songs

I listened to this book and when I finished it, the first thing I did was listen to it again. The story of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein is so well told and so filled with memorable stories that I just had to play it again. The pair wrote over 900 songs and 43 Broadway musicals, some of the greatest ever written for their time and today. The author is the reader and although he does not sing any of their songs, he speaks the poetry of Oscar Hammerstein. If you love Broadway, you'll love this book.

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Definitive and fascinating

a wonderful, in depth look into the lives and creative power of two towering theatrical geniuses. loved this book and the no nonsense reading of it.

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The world of Rodgers & Hammerstein (and some Hart)

Really enjoyed this book. It was a great bio of the two men (three if you count Hart). It also provided a nice window into the development of Broadway. I enjoyed the mellow but earnest delivery of the narrator. It was informative, relaxing, and inspiring. You will leave with a solid understanding of their whole catalogue of work. I was fired up to check out all the corresponding movies.