Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were established hit makers when they teamed up.

What follows was a miracle—Oklahoma!, then Carousel and The King and I; the list of extraordinary hits goes on. Ted Chapin, head of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, shares secrets and surprises gleaned from his years with the families of these great men, including a never-before-heard song from South Pacific. Come peek inside this legendary partnership—you’re truly in for some enchanted evening!

Ted Chapin, artistic director & host


Starring
Lewis Cleale, vocals
Mandy Gonzalez,
vocals
Jonathan Groff, vocals
Rebecca Luker, vocals
Phillipa Soo, vocals

Andy Einhorn, music director
Sarna Lapine, director
Greg Jarrett, associate music director & piano

Roberto Sinha, piano / Emily Bruskin Yarbrough, violin / Dan Willis, reeds / Ray Kilday, bass / Rich Rosenzweig, drums

 

The Apr 5 evening performance is underwritten in memory of Harold W. and Ida L. Goldstein by the Estate of Sanford Goldstein. The Apr 6 afternoon performance is underwritten by The Henry Nias Foundation, courtesy of Dr. Stanley Edelman.

Explore the Music

(Click the names below to expand info.)

Artistic Director’s Note

By Ted Chapin


Rodgers & Hammerstein were, in many ways, the biggest brand on Broadway, when brands were mostly applied to foodstuffs and automobiles. In the productive years of their collaboration, “Rodgers & Hammerstein” meant the best that the Broadway musical had to offer. During the 17 years in which they created nine stage shows, one movie and one original television special, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were at the epicenter of American Popular Culture.

On one Sunday evening in March 1954, the General Foods Company decided to celebrate its 25th anniversary by producing a star-studded television tribute to Rodgers & Hammerstein—and the resulting show was aired simultaneously on all three television networks as well as the nascent Dumont network. Clearly, almost everyone in America who had a television set was watching as the songs they loved were performed by the biggest stars around. (Side note: one brief excerpt from that show featuring the Messrs. Rodgers and Hammerstein opens our presentation.)

This show is titled “Getting to Know You.” That, of course, is a song from The King and I, but we used those words as a guide while assembling this presentation. Some people, happily, don’t need an introduction to Rodgers & Hammerstein—they already “know” many of the songs. Some have an encyclopedic knowledge of the canon. And then there are those in the “I didn’t know they wrote that!” school. So while musical director Andy Einhorn, director Sarna Lapine and I have thought a lot about “getting to know” the best of Rodgers & Hammerstein (extraordinary performers are certainly key), we have also approached this with a sense of discovery. What can be learned, for example, from showing the evolution of one particular musical moment in South Pacific? (That’s where our world premiere comes in….)

Hammerstein worked daily at his standing desk, finding the words for the songs that he and Rodgers had discussed at length: who were the characters, what were the situations, what would the feel of the music be, what would the vernacular be? Then the craftsman took over, working diligently, draft after draft. When he was done, he would hand the lyrics to Rodgers who would usually set them to music quickly.

Rodgers’ music was always appropriate. When the lyrics were poetic and romantic (“out of my dreams and into your arms I long to fly), he came up with a sweeping waltz. When the words were dramatically important and strong (“you’ve got to be taught to hate and fear”), he knew how to support the words and not get in their way. And he knew how much to place us in the locale of the story so we wouldn’t question where we were. In some ways the genius of their combined work is that everything simply fits together so well. The work of two distinctly different artists blended together into a unified whole. Time and time again.

I learn things all the time. Take “People Will Say We’re in Love” as an example. At a recent production of Oklahoma! I noticed inner rhymes that I hadn’t paid attention to: “Why do they think up stories that link my name”; “Grantin’ your wish, I carved our initials on that tree.” Smart, sophisticated and yet subtle. And that made me think about music critic Alan Rich’s interview with Stephen Sondheim, in which Sondheim spoke about his realization that the middle section is a melodic inversion of the first theme—“Don’t throw bouquets at me” and “Don’t start collecting things.” When he asked Rodgers how he came to make that decision, he said Rodgers had no clue what he had done. Just instinct.

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Artist Bios

Ted Chapin, artistic director, writer & host

Ted Chapin is president of Rodgers & Hammerstein (a division of Imagem), a position he has held for 30 years. He has spearheaded many Broadway productions during his tenure, the most recent of which is Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, the first time the 1957 CBS television-commissioned show has been seen on Broadway, and in a newly adapted version. In addition to managing the works of Rodgers and/or Hammerstein, the company has taken on the representation of other writers, ranging from Irving Berlin to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Ted’s career began as a production or directorial assistant for the Broadway productions of Follies, The Rothschilds and The Unknown Soldier and His Wife, as well as Leonard Bernstein’s Mass at the Kennedy Center and Candide in San Francisco. As associate to Alan Arkin, he was the assistant director on the original Broadway production of Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys and the CBS television special of George Furth’s Twigs, starring Carol Burnett.

As a visiting lecturer, Ted has appeared at several universities and colleges, including Yale, NYU, Lawrence University, Belmont University and St. Catherine’s College in Oxford. His book, Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical “Follies,” was published by Knopf in 2003 and won an ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award and a Special Jury Prize for Distinguished Achievement by the Theatre Library Association.

Ted serves on several boards, including the American Theatre Wing, where he was chair for four years, Goodspeed Musicals, New Music USA and New York City Center, where he was the originating chair of the Encores! Advisory Committee. He holds emeritus status on the board of Connecticut College; he has served as a Tony Awards nominator for two seasons and is currently a member of the Tony Administration and Management Committees. He has been honored by the Astaire Awards and Career Bridges, and has received the New York City Center’s Leonard Harris Award. This year he received the UJA’s Excellence in Theatre Award. His oddest job yet was as the musical director of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson’s opera Four Saints in Three Acts as performed by the National Theater of the Deaf.

Ted created and hosted “Stage Door Canteen: Broadway Responds to World War II” as part of the 2011 season of Lyrics & Lyricists, which was recorded by DRG Records. He can currently be seen as host/interviewer for “American Songbook at NJPAC” on PBS.

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Andy Einhorn, music director

Andy Einhorn is music director, conductor and vocal arranger of the new musical, Bullets Over Broadway, opening on Broadway this month. Last season, he was the music director and conductor of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella and for its cast recording. His other Broadway credits include music director of Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter at the Roundabout Theatre, and conductor and pianist of Sondheim on Sondheim, including the Grammy nominated cast album; Evita and The Light in the Piazza. His national tours include South Pacific, Sweeney Todd, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, The Lion King and Mamma Mia!

Andy has worked at The Public Theatre, Goodspeed Opera House, Signature Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and PaperMill Playhouse. He was principal vocal coach and pianist for Houston Grand Opera’s An Evening with Audra McDonald, a double-bill of Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine and LaChiusa’s Send. Andy has served as music director and pianist for Audra McDonald since 2011, performing with her and such orchestras as the San Francisco Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra, and at leading venues like Carnegie Hall. He has also music–directed for Barbara Cook at Feinstein’s and Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music.

In 2011 Andy was music director for the Lyrics & Lyricists show Stage Door Canteen with Ted Chapin, and its cast album, in 2011. Other CDs include McDonald’s newest release, Go Back Home. He was music supervisor for “Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy” on PBS “Great Performances” and the music director for the HBO documentary, Six By Sondheim.

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Sarna Lapine, director

Making her Lyrics & Lyricists debut is dramaturg and director Sarna Lapine. As an associate and assistant director, she has worked on Broadway in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Sondheim on Sondheim, South Pacific, Awake and Sing! and The Light in the Piazza. She directed the second national tour of South Pacific, and she is the associate director of the national tour of War Horse.

Elsewhere in New York, Sarna directed Odets’ Waiting for Lefty at the Lee Strasberg Institute and Tales from the Jazz Age: An F. Scott Fitzgerald Songbook at Café Carlyle. She has directed cabaret shows for Emily Bergl, including Kidding on the Square at The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, NY I Love You at the Café Carlyle and Till I Get It Right at Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco. She has also been a director for The 52nd Street Project children’s theater company as well as for readings at the Stella Adler Studio, New York Theatre Workshop, Ars Nova, Noor Theatre and The Araca Group. Her regional credits include Sunday in the Park with George at the Short North Stage in Columbus, Ohio, and The Year of Magical Thinking at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle.

A recipient of the Marcie Bloom Fellowship in film, Sarna holds an MFA in film from Columbia University.

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Greg Jarrett, associate music director & piano

Greg Jarrett served as assistant music director for the Classic Stage Company’s production of Sondheim’s Passion last season and music director of the company’s “45th Anniversary Bash” last year, starring Judy Kuhn, Stephen Bogardus, Ryan Silverman and others. Greg received a 2013 Craig Noel award nomination from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle for his music direction of Side Show at the La Jolla Playhouse, and he was associate music director for the 2011 Lyrics & Lyricists show Stage Door Canteen. Greg has also served as music director of the Vineyard Arts Project, a performing arts residency space on Martha’s Vineyard, and at the Barrington Stage and the New York Theatre Workshop. Recently, he contributed dance arrangements and served as associate music director for the new Maltby and Shire musical, Behind the Painting.

Off-Broadway, Greg was associate conductor and keyboardist for the world premiere of Maury Yeston’s musical, Death Takes a Holiday, starring Rebecca Luker. He was the associate music director for the Encores! Off-Center productions of The Cradle Will Rock and I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road, and he served as pianist for the New York City Center Encores! production of Bells Are Ringing, On Your Toes and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. He was also the associate conductor for The Producers at the Hollywood Bowl. Greg has been music director and pianist for concert and cabaret performances of such Broadway stars as Lauren Molina and the duo of Jenny Powers and Matt Cavenaugh at 54 Below, Birdland, Feinstein’s and elsewhere.

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Lewis Cleale, vocals

Lewis Cleale currently appears on Broadway as Joseph Smith, the Mission President and Jesus, among other roles, in The Book of Mormon. His previous Broadway credits include Sondheim on Sondheim, Spamalot, Amour, Once Upon a Mattress and Swinging on a Star, for which he received a Drama Desk nomination. He has toured nationally as Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard and Joe Cable in South Pacific, and he was Sam in the Las Vegas production of Mamma Mia!

Lewis last appeared on the Lyrics & Lyricists series in the 2006 Johnny Mercer concert, and he played opposite Tyne Daly in Call Me Madam for New York City Center Encores! Among his Off-Broadway credits are Time and Again, A New Brain and The Fantasticks. Regionally, Lewis has played more that 30 leading roles in theaters across the country, including Michael in I Do! I Do! opposite Kate Baldwin at the Westport County Playhouse, Lancelot in Camelot at the St. Louis Muny, John Adams in 1776 at the Fords Theater and both Giorgio in Passion, which earned him a Helen Hayes Award, and Bick Benedict in the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa’s Giant, at the Signature Theatre, outside Washington, DC.

Lewis provided the voice of Cliff the troll in Disney’s Academy Award-winning hit animated feature Frozen. Last year he joined an all-star cast in a musical video parody of "Downton Abbey" by Jason Michael Snow, filmed at 54 Below, playing Michael Gregson, Lady Edith’s editor/lover. Among his recordings are cast recordings of Infinite Joy: The Songs of William Finn and Big City Rhythm: The Songs of Barry Kleinbort. His website is lewisclealeonline.com.

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Mandy Gonzalez, vocals

Mandy Gonzalez is best known for her portrayal of Nina Rosario in the Tony Award–winning Broadway musical, In the Heights, a role she originated off-Broadway at 37 Arts, and a show which received a Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble. Most recently, she starred as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked; her show-stopping performance of “Defying Gravity” helped earn her a Broadway.com Award for Best Replacement.

Other Broadway roles include Princess Amneris in the Elton John and Tim Rice musical Aida and multiple roles in Lennon. Mandy made her Broadway debut in Dance of the Vampires, starring opposite Michael Crawford. She received an Obie Award and critical praise for her performance in the Off-Broadway production of Eli’s Comin’, directed by Diane Paulus and based on the music and lyrics of singer-songwriter Laura Nyro.

As a film actress, Mandy has appeared in Across the Universe, After and Man on a Ledge. Her television credits include “White Collar,” “The Good Wife,” “666 Park Avenue,” “One Life to Live” and “Third Watch.” She was the voice of Mei in Disney’s Mulan II, and she can be heard on the original Broadway cast album of In the Heights as well as Kerrigan-Lowdermilk Live and The Man Who Would Be King with Brian D’Arcy James; she has started working on her first solo album, with plans for a 2015 release. Mandy made her 54 Below debut last December and performs concerts in prestigious venues across the US and around the world. Her website is mandygonzalez.com.

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Jonathan Groff, vocals

Jonathan Groff created the role of Melchior Gabor in Spring Awakening at the Atlantic Theater Company, a role which garnered him a Theatre World Award, in addition to Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations, following the production’s move to Broadway. A frequent star of the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park productions, Jonathan starred as Claude in Hair, Dionysius in The Bacchae and Frederic in last year’s gala concert performance of The Pirates of Penzance.

Off-Broadway Jonathan starred in Jeff Talbot’s The Submission and Craig Lucas’s The Singing Forest and Prayer for My Enemy, for which he won an Obie Award. Most recently, he appeared alongside Alfred Molina in the west coast premiere of John Logan’s Red at the Mark Taper Forum, and he made his London stage debut in the West End revival of Deathtrap.

Perhaps best known as Jesse St. James in Fox’s hit series, “Glee,” Jonathan recently starred as Patrick in the first season of the acclaimed HBO series, “Looking.” He also appeared alongside Kelsey Grammer in the Starz drama series, “Boss.” He next stars in the HBO film adaptation of Larry Kramer’s Tony Award-winning play, The Normal Heart, directed by Ryan Murphy.

Jonathan provided the voice of Kristoff in Disney’s Academy Award-winning hit animated feature, Frozen, and he was also seen in the independent feature, C.O.G., based on the short story by David Sedaris, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Jonathan’s other film credits include Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, Robert Redford’s The Conspirator and the independent drama, Twelve-Thirty.

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Rebecca Luker, vocals

Rebecca Luker recently finished a run as Marie, the Fairy Godmother, in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. She received Tony nominations for Mary Poppins, The Music Man and Show Boat and had leading roles in Nine, The Sound of Music, The Secret Garden and The Phantom of the Opera. Off-Broadway, Rebecca appeared in the premieres of Death Takes a Holiday and Indian Blood. For New York City Opera she was in X (The Life and Times of Malcolm X) and Brigadoon, and for New York City Center Encores! she was in Where’s Charley? and The Boys from Syracuse.

Rebecca’s regional credits include Passion at the Kennedy Center; Time and Again at the Old Globe in San Diego; Harmony at the La Jolla Playhouse, winning a Drama-Logue Award; and She Loves Me for the Reprise! series in Los Angeles. On May 3 Rebecca will sing a benefit concert at Caramoor of music by Jerome Kern. She has had two sold-out shows for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series and two runs at 54 Below. She has appeared with nearly two dozen orchestras in the US and Europe, including the American, Chicago, London and Royal Stockholm symphonies.

Last year, Rebecca sang Clara on the cast album of Classic Stage Company’s revival of Passion, and she released her third album on PS Classics: I Got Love: Songs of Jerome Kern, which followed Greenwich Time and Leaving Home. Her film and television credits include Not Fade Away, “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Good Wife,” “Law and Order-SVU,” the CBS-TV-movie Cupid & Cate, and numerous PBS music specials. Her website is rebeccaluker.com.

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Phillipa Soo, vocals

Since October 2012 Phillipa Soo has been playing Natasha in the critically acclaimed and award-winning immersive musical, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, presented first by Ars Nova, then in the meatpacking district and most recently at Kazino, in the heart of the theater district. For her performance, which marked her New York theatrical debut, she received Clive Barnes and Drama League award nominations.

She also won the attention of the city’s theater community and media. Last June Phillipa joined Gabriel Ebert, Judy Kuhn, Malcolm Gets, Heidi Blickenstaff and others at the Vineyard Theatre for a benefit concert celebrating the music of Dory Previn. This January she took the lead role of Ziegfeld Girl and silent film star Olive Thomas in a 29-hour industry reading of Matthew Martin and Tim Realbuto’s musical, Ghostlight. This spring she will be in a workshop of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton Mixtape.

Phillipa was also seen in the second season of NBC’s series “SMASH” and in the award-winning short film Keep the Change by Rachel Israel. She is a recent graduate of The Juilliard Drama Division. While in school, she was in the Non- Equity company of the Williamstown Theatre Festival Workshop, working on new works by Nick Blaemire and Samuel D. Hunter. Upon graduating from Juilliard, she received the Laura Pels International Prize in Acting.

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Roberto Sinha, piano

A New York–based music director and pianist, Roberto Sinha is currently working on the upcoming Broadway musical version of Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway. He recently concluded work on Broadway’s Big Fish, and he has been a part of the music team for Allegiance–A New Musical, which is scheduled to open on Broadway next season. Roberto is a candidate for the MFA in Music Directing for Music Theatre program at Penn State University, under the mentorship of Dan Riddle.

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Emily Bruskin Yarbrough, violin

Violinist Emily Bruskin Yarbrough has played for Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, Newsies and Sondheim on Sondheim. She has performed on “Saturday Night Live,” “American Idol,” “Today” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” with such artists as Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Elton John and Michael Bublé. Emily has also appeared as soloist with the Virginia, Pacific, Utah and Nashville symphonies, and she is a member of the Claremont Trio, which has recorded on the Bridge, Arabesque, Ongaku, American Modern and Tria labels. Emily was a grand prize winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and a recipient of BBC Magazine’s Critic’s Choice Award.

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Dan Willis, reeds

Reed specialist Dan Willis has performed in 18 Broadway show orchestras, including the current Kinky Boots. He is a member of the Roland Vasquez Big Band, the Ted Nash Big Band and the Grammy Award–nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble. His fifth CD as a leader, Satie Project II, received two Grammy nominations. Dan is touring this year with Liza Minnelli, and he has toured Japan and the US with Michael Brecker’s Quindectet, The Birdland Big Band and Don Henley. He has played with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, New York Pops, Brooklyn and New York philharmonics, New York City Ballet and others. His website is daywooddrive.com/danwillis.htm.

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Ray Kilday, bass

Ray Kilday is the bassist for Newsies: The Musical. His other Broadway credits include Follies, Marie Christine, Blood Brothers, A Class Act and Grand Hotel. Ray has performed and recorded with many singers, among them Leslie Uggams, Barbara Cook, Shirley Bassey, Donna McKechnie, Klea Blackhurst, Lea Salonga, Bernadette Peters and Audra McDonald; he was Blossom Dearie’s bass player for nearly 20 years, including for her appearance on PBS’s “In Performance at the White House.” Additional television credits include “Smash,” “Today” and other morning talk shows. Ray’s recording credits include many cast albums, soundtracks and jingles.

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Rich Rosenzweig, drums

Drummer Rich Rosenzweig is currently playing for Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. His previous credits include the revivals of Follies, Ragtime and Bells Are Ringing, plus End of the Rainbow, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and State Fair. Often the drummer for the New York City Center Encores! series, he played for NBC’s “The Sound of Music Live!” Rich has been on the tours of The Producers, The Wizard of Oz, West Side Story, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Will Rogers Follies; he has performed with the 2002 Sondheim Festival at the Kennedy Center and the Kennedy Center Honors Orchestra. He has played and/or recorded with Cy Coleman, Kate Baldwin, Carol Channing, The Jimmy Dorsey Band and others.

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