Rodgers & Hammerstein celebration in Eastbourne

The Story and Music of Rodgers & Hammerstein will be filling Eastbourne’s Royal Hippodrome Theatre with the sound of music on Thursday, August 26.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 6:05 am
Dean Caston
Dean Caston

Spokeswoman Laura May Sivers said: “The show will feature a selection of songs from some of their hit shows which are as popular today as they were when they were first performed nearly 80 years ago. In fact, last year a Rodgers & Hammerstein classic You’ll Never Walk Alone from Carousel became a song of hope during the pandemic when it became a number-one hit for Michael Ball and Captain Sir Tom Moore. ”

Dean Caston, who created the show, will be telling the story of how Rodgers and Hammerstein met and recalling stories about some shows and stars that appeared in them including Mary Martin and Yul Brynner.”

As Dean says: “When putting the show together, there were so many popular songs that were written by Rodgers & Hammerstein that is was difficult to know which songs to include in the show. But there will be plenty of songs that I’m sure the audience will be singing along with!

“Jimmy Burton-Iles will be performing some memorable classics including Oh! What a Beautiful Morning from Oklahoma and If I loved You from Carousel whilst Jessica Pease will delight audiences with I Can’t Say No from Oklahoma and the title song from The Sound of Music.”

Musical director Carol Anne Wells studied at music at The Royal College of Music and was awarded the Ellen Marie Curtis Mozart prize. She became the first official accompanist at the Royal College of Music Opera School and since then has become an accomplished soloist and accompanist in concerts, cabaret and musical theatre. In the show she will perform Something Wonderful from The King and I and Bali-hai from South Pacific.

Laura added: “Composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II were undoubtedly the most influential and successful American musical theatre writing team. During the 1940s and 50s they created iconic musicals such as Oklahoma, Carousel and The Sound of Music initiating what is still considered today as the golden age of musical theatre. They revolutionised the American musical theatre combining song, story and dance as never before.

“The pair first met in 1916 when studying at Columbia University. They met again after a matinee in 1917 and Oscar wrote he was taken backstage where he met ‘a very tall, skinny fellow with a sweet smile and clear blue eyes’.

“They then went their separate ways with Hammerstein working with Jerome Kern and Rodgers with Lorenz Hart until the early 1940s. The pair’s first collaboration was on an adaptation of Lynn Rigg’s stage play Green Grow the Lilacs. The pair set to work on the musical which was given the title Oklahoma. The show opened on Broadway on March 31 1943 where it ran for 2,212 performances. It was made into an Academy award winning musical film in 1955.

“Their last show together was The Sound of Music which opened on Broadway in November 1959. Oscar Hammerstein passed away the following August. Richard Rodgers continued to working but never enjoyed the same success as he had during his partnership with Oscar Hammerstein. Rodgers passed away in 1979.”

Tickets from £16 available from the box office on 01323 802020 or book online at royalhippodrome.com