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Biography   -    Memories   -    Timeline

1902: Richard Charles Rodgers born June 28 at Hammells Station, NY, near Arverne, Long Island.

1908: Rodgers learns to play the piano.

1917: Rodgers gives first amateur musical productions: One Minute Please; Up Stage and Down.

1918: Rodgers meets his first collaborator, lyricist Lorenz Hart (1895-1943).

1919: Rodgers & Hart's first Broadway song: "Any Old Place with You," in A Lonely Romeo. Rodgers enrolls as extension student at Columbia University.

1920: Rodgers & Hart's first musical, Poor Little Ritz Girl, opens.

1921: Rodgers enrolls at New York's Institute of Musical Art (now Juilliard).

1924: Rodgers & Hart's Melody Man opens.

1925: Rodgers & Hart's The Garrick Gaities, a revue for Theatre Guild. Dearest Enemy opens as team's first successful musical comedy.

1926: Rodgers & Hart's Peggy-Ann opens. The Girl Friend opens.

Poster for A Conneticut Yankee. Photo courtesy The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization.

1927: Rodgers & Hart's A Connecticut Yankee opens (song, "My Heart Stood Still").

1930: Rodgers marries Dorothy Feiner, March 5.

1931: Rodgers & Hart's America's Sweetheart opens. Love Me Tonight (film) stars Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald (songs "Isn't it Romantic?", "Mimi"). Rodgers' daughter Mary born.

1932: The Phantom President (film) gives first screen role to George M. Cohan. Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (film) stars Al Jolson.

1934: Rodgers & Hart write score for Billy Rose's musical comedy Jumbo (song, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.").

1935: Rodgers' daughter Linda born.

1936: Rodgers & Hart's On Your Toes opens.

1937: Rodgers & Hart's Babes in Arms opens (song, "My Funny Valentine"). I'd Rather Be Right opens.

1938: Rodgers & Hart's The Boys From Syracuse opens; first successful use of Shakespeare as basis for commercial musical. I Married An Angel opens.

1939: Rodgers & Hart's Too Many Girls opens. Rodgers' ballet, Ghost Town, opens.

1940: Rodgers & Hart's Pal Joey opens (first musical comedy to receive the New York Drama Critics Award; also wins eleven Donaldson Awards). Higher and Higher opens.

1942: By Jupiter opens (last of the Rodgers &Hart musicals).

1943: Lorenz Hart dies (November). Rodgers and new partner, Oscar Hammerstein II, collaborate on Oklahoma!, which receives special Pulitzer Prize for drama and produces first original cast album. (Introduces John Raitt; songs, "Oklahoma!", "Oh What A Beautiful Mornin'", "People Will Say We're In Love," "Out of My Dreams," "Surrey with the Fringe on Top").

1944: Rodgers & Hammerstein write screen score for State Fair. "It Might as Well Be Spring" receives Academy Award for Best Song (1945).

[Souvenir program for Carousel. Photo courtesy The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization.]1945: Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel opens (stars John Raitt; songs: "If I Loved You," "You'll Never Walk Alone.")

1947: Oklahoma! opens in London (stars Howard Keel). Allegro opens.

1949: Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific opens; wins Pulitzer Prize, Drama Critics Award, seven Tony Awards. (Stars Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza; songs, "Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair," "Bali Ha'i", "Some Enchanted Evening," "This Nearly Was Mine.")

[Poster for The King and I. Photo courtesy The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization.]

1951: Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I opens. (Stars Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence; songs, "Hello, Young Lovers," "We Kiss In a Shadow," "Getting to Know You," "Shall We Dance?", "Whistle A Happy Tune.")

1952: Rodgers composes Emmy-winning score for NBC-TV series, Victory at Sea.

1953: Rodgers & Hammerstein's Me and Juliet opens.

1955: Oklahoma! (film) opens (stars Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones). Pipe Dream opens.

1957: Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (television production, stars Julie Andrews).

1958: Rodgers & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song opens. South Pacific (film) opens (stars Mitzi Gaynor).

1959: The Sound of Music opens on Broadway, last of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals. (Stars Mary Martin; songs, "The Sound of Music," "Do-Re-Mi," "Climb Every Mountain," "My Favorite Things.")

1960: Oscar Hammerstein dies. Rodgers writes score for The Valiant Years (television documentary).

1962: Rodgers writes No Strings (stars Diahann Carroll).

1965: Rodgers collaborates with Stephen Sondheim on Do I Hear a Waltz? The Sound of Music (film) wins Academy Award for Best Picture of 1965 (stars Julie Andrews; new song, "I Have Confidence in Me").

1967: Rodgers writes score for Androcles and the Lion (television production).

1970: Two by Two opens (stars Danny Kaye).

1975: Rodgers publishes autobiography, Musical Stages.

1976: Rex opens.

1979: Final (39th) musical play, I Remember Mama. Rodgers dies, December 30.