The Other R & H: Rodgers and Hart, with Marc Strauss
Tuesdays from 3-5:30 pm on 4/28, 5/5, 5/12, 5/19, 5/26.
Classes will be held at Wellfleet Preservation Hall (335 Main Street, Wellfleet).
When musical aficionados hear the letters “R & H,” their usual association is with the venerable songwriting team of Rodgers and Hammerstein, who wrote so many hummable hits together from 1943 until 1959 for shows as eternal, diverse, and popular as Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, and The Sound of Music. But before composer Richard Rodgers worked with lyricist Oscar Hammerstein on eleven musicals for the sixteen years of their fruitful collaboration, he had another, even longer partnership—twenty-four years—with lyricist Lorenz Hart, beginning in 1919 and continuing until Hart’s passing in 1943. In Broadway shows and films such as The Garrick Gaieties, Love Me Tonight, On Your Toes, Babes in Arms, The Boys from Syracuse, and Pal Joey, the first R & H wrote over 500 songs together. Many of them remain standards in the Great American Songbook: “Manhattan,” “Thou Swell,” “Where or When,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.”
This spring 2020 Open University of Wellfleet course will focus on that earlier artistic collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Instructor Marc Strauss, Ph.D., will teach the course through short lectures, guided discussion, and the listening and viewing of dozens of Rodgers and Hart CD and DVD recordings, both famous and rare, as sung and danced to by extraordinary artists throughout and far beyond their 24-year partnership. Comparisons between the two “R & H’s” are inevitable and shall be demonstrated, and a richer understanding of the distinct talents of these two musical artists—one all too often ignored or, sadly, unheard of—will be a focus of the course.