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Richard Rodgers

June 23, 2020

On Standard time, 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, on-air host Tom Nutile celebrates the music of Richard Rodgers, the most prolific of the Great American Songbook composers, with more than 900 songs to his credit. Rodgers, born June 28, 1902, teamed up with lyricist Lorenz Hart at the beginning of his career, and worked with Oscar Hammerstein II starting in 1942. Rodgers adapted his composing to complement each of his partner’s strengths. With Hart, he wrote catchy, often clever songs that matched his partner’s wit and wordplay. Rodgers and Hart tunes are usually the ones that attract jazz musicians and pop singers. Their songs include My Funny Valentine, I Wish I Were in Love Again, Dancing on the Ceiling and Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. Rodgers’s collaboration with Hammerstein, which began in 1942, is celebrated for bringing the Broadway musical to a new maturity, with stories focused around characters and drama rather than the light-hearted entertainment that the genre was known for beforehand. The pair collaborated on such groundbreaking musicals as Oklahoma!CarouselSouth PacificThe King and I, and The Sound of Music. Rodgers’ work with Hammerstein was characterized by sweeping, long-lined melodies that some have likened to operetta. On Standard Time, we’ll compare and contrast. Tony Bennett will sing a set of Rodgers and Hart numbers, while Frank Sinatra brings us a set of Rodgers and Hammerstein.