It’s a Rodgers & Hammerstein II weekend for the I’m A Bright Kid Foundation and Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College.

IABK is staging “An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Sept. 29) and Saturday (Sept. 30) with a 4 p.m. matinee Sunday (Oct. 1).

The program will showcase memorable melodies from the Big 5 of the R&H catalogue: “The King & I” (1951),“South Pacific” (1949) “Oklahoma” (1943),“Carousel” (1945) and “The Sound of Music” (1959).

The shows, and select titles from each, are some of the all-time favorites of the late Ron Bright, pictured left, the inspiration for the I’m A Bright Kid Foundation and its mission to perpetuate and preserve Mr. B’s legacy.

Clearly, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II “invented” the Broadway musical we’ve come to know and applaud. The duo’s fingerprints are evident, if you’ve been a fan over the decades.

This column is intended to shed some light and perhaps share some flashpoints in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s legacy. Note: some personal reflection appears here, along with data from Wikipedia.

Rodgers & Hammerstein, in a commemorative postage stamp.

The duo’s first stage musical, “Oklahoma!,” set the template for future shows to come; the show this year marked its incredible 80th anniversary. The songs were composed with specific needs, with every aspect of the play—from the lyrics to the choreography, from the staging to the costuming — integrating key theatrical elements to propel the storytelling. Prior “musicals” featured actors who could sing but not necessarily dance, featured on tunes placed and paced without the innovative storytelling element.

R&H’s legacy include these elements:

  • An overture, a sweeping panorama of the songs to come, prior to the show’s opening scene.
  • A dream sequence, not in every show but launched in “Oklahoma!,” which featured a ballet-type dance moment with integral links to the storyline.
  • Recordings of the entire score, providing a soundtrack for fans to listen at home. The first cast recording was for “Oklahoma!,” with  Decca Records issuing a keepsake that revolutionized the recording industry that provided a bundle of 78 rpm discs that sold for $5 back in the day, with “singles” (also on 78 rpm discs) retailing for 50 cents.

Some questions answered:

  • Did Rodgers & Hammerstein write shows for film?  (“State Fair”)  And television (“Cinderella”).
  • Has the duo won major awards? (Lots: 42 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, two Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards.)


“An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics”

A musical revue of Rodgers and Hammerstein evergreens, from “King & I,” “South Pacific,” “Oklahoma!,” “Carousel” and “Sound of Music,” reflecting the favorite titles of the late Ron Bright.

Where: Paliku Theatre, Windward Community College

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday (Sept. 29) and Saturday (Sept. 30) and 4 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 1)

Tickets: Premium, $32; adult, $27; seniors 65+, students up to 13, military, $22’ children 6-12, $17; free, toddlers 2 to 5; babies under 2 not allowed; reservations at

Broadway grosses, week ending Sept. 24

With the closure of several shows over the past few weeks, the grosses on the Great White Way are somewhat static – oldies are goldies, with one exception – the arrival of “Merrily We Roll Along,” making its debut on the charts:

The week’s Top 10:

1 – “The Lion King,” $1.911 million.

2 –“Hamilton,” $1.744 million.’

3 – “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” $1.530 million.

4 – “MJ, the Musical,” $1.379 million.

5 – “Wicked,” $1.321 million.

6 –“Merrily, We Roll Along,” $1.304 million.

7 – “Aladdin,” $1.166 million.

8 – “Moulin Rouge,” $1.093 million.

9 – “Back to the Future, the Musical,” $1.036 million.

10 – “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” $936,561.

Here’s the complete list, courtesy The Broadway Guild:

And that’s Show Biz. …

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