Oct. 24--The musical collaboration between composer Richard Rodgers and librettist/lyricist Oscar Hammerstein has been called the greatest of the 20th century by Mark Lubbock in the book "American Musical Theatre," and their string of hits in the 1940s and 1950s has been termed by John Gordon Steele in "Oklahoma!" the "golden age" of musical theater.
And although the musicals made their bows on Broadway between 55 and 70 years ago, even the youngest musical theater fans still appreciate the songs that came from the duo's most prominent shows.
The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera's Pops Series pays homage to those musicals on Saturday, Oct. 26, with "The Best of Rodgers & Hammerstein" at the Tivoli Theatre.
The CSO, with the assistance of a chorus and soloists, will perform selections from the musicals "Carousel," "Oklahoma," "South Pacific," "State Fair," "The King and I," "The Sound of Music" and "Victory at Sea."
Each of the musicals has received its share of acclaim.
"Carousel" was named best musical of the 20th century by Time magazine in 1999. The success of "Oklahoma" was solidified when Oklahoma adopted the title number as its state song. "South Pacific" won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950, and "It's a Grand Night for Singing" from "State Fair" won an Academy Award for Best Song.
"The King and I," in its original Broadway run, garnered Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Actress and Best Featured Actor, and "The Sound of Music," at its opening, was termed "the loveliest musical imaginable" by the New York World- Telegram and Sun and "the most mature product of the [Rodgers-Hammerstein] team" by the New York Journal American.
"Victory at Sea," a documentary television series with music by Rodgers and Robert Russell Bennett, was a favorite of President Richard Nixon, and part of it was played at his funeral.
Bob Bernhardt, principal pops conductor, leads the orchestra for the performance. Allan Ledford, longtime Center for Creative Arts music leader and Choo Choo Kids founder, is the chorus director, and Lindsay Fussell, who has choreographed numerous shows for the Chattanooga Theatre Centre and elsewhere, is choreographer. Chattanooga Theatre Centre executive director George Quick is the producing director.
The soloists are mezzo-soprano Rosella Ewing, tenor Tim King and baritone Brett Hyberger.
Contact Clint Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.
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