Rodgers and Hammerstein were an American songwriting team consisting of composer Richard Rodgers (June 28, 1902 — December 30, 1979) and lyricist/scriptwriter Oscar Hammerstein II (July 12, 1895 — August 23, 1960). Together they earned 34 Tonys, 15 Academy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and two Grammys, making them EGOTs (winners of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony). Rodgers was the first-ever EGOT, and he, along with Marvin Hamlisch, have been the only EGOTs to win those 4 prizes and a Pulitzer. Hammerstein is also the only Oscar to ever win an Oscar.
As the quote above indicates, their shows are well on the idealistic end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism; despite often dealing with serious topics (racism in South Pacific, sexual harassment in Oklahoma!, spousal abuse in Carousel), they're a by-word for perky, heart-warming, optimistic musicals. However, at the time, their musicals were revolutionary for making sure all songs and dances were directly related to the plot, for having more in-depth character development than most of the musicals that preceded them, and for using scenic design as an integral part of the storytelling; they were so successful, and so widely imitated, that they are considered the Trope Codifiers for modern musicals.
Before their creative partnership began, both had been involved in earlier collaborations; Rodgers was acclaimed for his work with Lorenz Hart, while Hammerstein co-wrote Show Boat (arguably the first modern musical, and written in a style which foreshadowed the work of this duo) with composer Jerome Kern. Rodgers and Hammerstein also produced most of their own musicals and sometimes produced other people's work, including Annie Get Your Gun, I Remember Mama (which Rodgers helped musicalize much later) and the Helen Hayes-starring play Happy Birthday (for which they wrote one song).
Oscar Hammerstein mentored Stephen Sondheim as a young man and was a formative influence on him (Sondheim has said that "if Oscar was a geologist, I would have been a geologist"). Rodgers' daughter Mary became a successful composer in her own right with her biggest success being Once Upon a Mattress, while her son Adam Guettel is the composer/lyricist of such musicals as The Light in the Piazza. Compare Lerner and Loewe, another theatrical songwriting/composing duo of the mid-20th century.
- State Fair (a movie musical remade from an earlier movie, and remade again after Hammerstein's death)
- South Pacific
- The King and I
- Me and Juliet
- Pipe Dream
- Cinderella (originally a CBS television production)
- Flower Drum Song
- The Sound of Music