Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution

Todd S. Purdum. Holt, $32 (352p) ISBN 978-1-62779-834-1
No songwriting duo is as ubiquitous in American pop culture as Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, argues Purdum (An Idea Whose Time Has Come) in this thorough biography of the pair that largely focuses on two decades of wild success beginning with Oklahoma! and triumphantly concluding with The Sound of Music. Purdum follows Rodgers and Hammerstein separately through their formative years before their meeting in the early 1940s ushered in a sweeping revolution on Broadway. Though many pages are devoted to somewhat formulaic chronologies of the duo’s hallmark productions and also their less-successful ventures, such as Allegro, Purdum sufficiently explores their conflicting personalities, savvy business practices (they established a music publishing company and produced other plays), and sheer innovation, all of which led to the endurance of their work. Despite waning critical acclaim in the twilight years of their partnership, Rodgers and Hammerstein continued to have commercial success (largely fueled by The Sound of Music). Purdum’s anecdote-filled account is a sterling primer on the influential duo, both for newcomers to their work and to those looking to rekindle an old flame. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/08/2018
Release date: 04/03/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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MP3 CD - 978-1-5385-3704-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-5385-3702-2
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-250-21486-7
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5385-4240-8
Ebook - 978-1-62779-835-8
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