George Gershwin (1898 - 1937) was one of the prominent composers and songwriters of the 20th century. He composed scores for Broadway musicals and wrote some of the most memorable songs of our time. Most of the lyrics of Gershwins' songs were written by his older brother Ira Gershwin (1896 - 1983). Their musicals in the 1930s include Strike Up the Band featuring the song "I've Got a Crush on You," and Of Thee I Sing, which was the first musical to receive a Pulitzer Prize for drama. Porgy and Bess premiered in 1935 with mixed reactions but is now considered one of Gershwin's greatest works. It was later performed at La Scala, Milan, making it the first opera by an American composer to be performed there. When George died in 1937, Ira went on a hiatus. He returned in 1941 with the musical Lady in the Dark, a collaboration with composer Kurt Weill and playwright Moss Hart.
Rodgers and Hammerstein
When Lorenz Hart died in 1943, Richard Rodgers worked with Oscar Hammerstein II. The Rodgers & Hammerstein tandem resulted in several successful works including Oklahoma! and South Pacific which both won a Pulitzer Prize. Oklahoma! opened on March 31, 1943 at St. James Theatre in New York. It was a huge success and was the first Broadway musical to have a 78 rpm record featuring all the original cast and orchestra. South Pacific opened in 1949 starring Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin, featuring memorable songs like "Some Enchanted Evening" and "Bali Hai." In 1951, the duo came out with The King and I starring Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner. This was followed by a few other musicals including the well-loved The Sound of Music starring Mary Martin playing the role of Maria, and Carousel featuring the song "You’ll Never Walk Alone."
Irving Berlin wrote songs for several plays such as "Watch Your Step," (1914), "Annie Get Your Gun," "Louisiana Purchase," "As Thousands Cheer," "Face the Music," "Call Me Madam" and "Sayonara." He created an all-soldier stage play called This is The Army which opened on Broadway in 1942. In 1943, it was made into a film starring, among others, Ronald Reagan.
Frank Henry Loesser (1910 - 1969) was an American composer and lyricist known for such musicals as Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Guys and Dolls opened in 1950 and won a Tony Award for Best Musical. It was made into a film n 1955. How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying opened in 1961 and won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
Alan Jay Lerner (1918 - 1986) was an American librettist and lyricist. He collaborated with American composer Frederick Loewe (1901 - 1988) on such musicals as Brigadoon (1947), Paint Your Wagon (1951), My Fair Lady (1956) and Camelot (1960). My Fair Lady is the duo's most notable work; it starred Julie Andrews and featured unforgettable songs like "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face." It was made into a film in 1964 and won several Academy Awards.
Leonard Bernstein was an American composer of classical and popular music, a music educator, conductor, songwriter and pianist. Among his works are the musicals On the Town (1944) Wonderful Town (1953, both were collaborations with lyricists/librettists Betty Comden and Adolph Green), Candide (1956) and West Side Story (1957). West Side Story was a collaboration with librettist Arthur Laurents, choreographer Jerome Robbins and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. It was made into a film in 1961 and revived in Broadway in 1980 and 2009.
musical. (2011). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/399126/musical
what is a musical? (2010). In Musicals 101. Retrieved from http://www.musicals101.com/musical.htm