Getting to Know Rodgers and Hammerstein: Education and Adaptation in 21st-century performance
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Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II forever changed the face of American musical theatre when Oklahoma! opened on Broadway in 1943. This collaboration is often cited by historians as the first fully-integrated book musical on the Broadway stage. Their collaboration produced such hits as Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music. While the musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein continue to be commercially produced, 21st-century audiences may consider their works problematic. A critical examination of the text unveils inauthentic representations of non-white characters, misogynistic gender stereotypes, overt cultural appropriation, and questionable representations of slavery and domestic violence. While a 21st-century audience may be attuned to these unsavory elements, a dramaturgical perspective produces a deeper understanding. Through various adaptation and educational efforts, the place of Rodgers and Hammerstein on the 21st-century stage may be secured. In examining the recent production history of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, as well as educational models for the study of problematic literature, the fixtures of American musical theatre may be better understood.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Bright Golden Haze on the Meadow -- Chapter 1. Characters Carefully Taught -- Chapter 2. How Do You Solve a Problematic Musical? -- Chapter 3. When You Know the Notes to Sing -- Chapter 4. As a Teacher, I've Been Learning -- Conclusion. Ten Minutes Ago
M.A. (Master of Arts)