Hammerstein, Oscar, II

Hammerstein, Oscar, II

biographical name

(born July 12, 1895, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Aug. 23, 1960, Doylestown, Pa.) U.S. lyricist, musical-comedy author, and producer. Grandson of the opera impresario Oscar Hammerstein (1846–1919), he studied law at Columbia University before beginning his theatre career. Among his early musicals are Rose Marie (1924; music by Rudolf Friml), The Desert Song (1925; music by Sigmund Romberg), and the Jerome Kern musicals Sunny (1925) and Show Boat (1927), the latter a musical theatre landmark. In the early 1940s he began a famous collaboration with Richard Rodgers; the two soon became the preeminent figures in the American musical theatre, creating among others Oklahoma! (1943, Pulitzer Prize), Carousel (1945), State Fair (1945), South Pacific (1949, Pulitzer Prize), The King and I (1951), and The Sound of Music (1959). They formed the publishing firm Williamson Music, and from 1949 were theatrical producers as well.

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