Rodgers and Hammerstein are one of the most well known Musical Theatre composers of the twentieth century having written shows like Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound Of Music, in what was considered the golden age of Musical Theatre.
Released in April 2018, Something Wonderful, by Todd S. Purdum takes a look at the writing duo’s career from beginning to end. The highs, the lows, the hits, the flops and everything in between.
There are some nice little anecdotes and stories including one of actress Mary Martin who first met Oscar when she auditioned in front of him claiming “this is a song you probably don’t know” to which after she had sung he announced “yes I know that song, I wrote it”! Mary Martin went on to star in many Rodgers and Hammerstein shows and even came up with the idea of washing her hair live on stage during South Pacific, for which the classic song I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair was then written to go along with the idea.
Something Wonderful is a very informative read and would be ideal for Musical Theatre students who are looking for more than just a summary of the writing duo’s work together. But for those less interested in the nitty gritty of it all, you could probably learn everything you need to know about Rodgers and Hammerstein from Wikipedia. You probably don’t need to work your way through more than three hundred pages. That said, it was easy to read and I certainly feel like I know my theatrical history a bit better for it now.
Reviewed by West End Wilma