The Museum of Television & Radio — both the New York and Los Angeles branches — will celebrate Richard Rodgers' centennial with a screening series chock-full of Rodgers rarities.
From April 5 through June 30 the Museum, which houses over 100,000 programs, will feature rarely seen and recently discovered footage of several Rodgers TV appearances. Highlights of "A Tribute to Richard Rodgers: The Sound of His Music" include a screening of the Julie Andrews Cinderella, the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical written expressly for TV, and an episode of "The Tonight Show" taped during Johnny Carson's first year as host. The episode was a tribute to the late composer of South Pacific and Oklahoma!, which included chats with Rodgers and director Joshua Logan as well as performances by Diahann Carroll, Florence Henderson and Earl Wrightson.
The New York branch of the Museum will also hold a seminar entitled "Music By Richard Rodgers: A Discussion of His Work." Scheduled for April 9 at 6 PM, the 90-minute discussion will include a panel of Rodgers' colleagues who will discuss working with the composer. The panel will comprise Ted Chapin, the president and executive director of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization; Martin Charnin, Rodgers' collaborator for Two by Two and I Remember Mama; Rodgers' daughter, composer Mary Rodgers; filmmaker Roger Sherman; and Peter Stone, who worked with Rodgers on Androcles and the Lion and Two by Two. There is a $10 ticket price for this event, and tickets may be purchased in the Museum lobby or by calling (212) 621-6600.
The Museum will also present a listening series, boasting radio versions of several Rodgers musicals: Cleopatra, A Connecticut Yankee, South Pacific and Allegro. The radio programs will run continuously in the Ralph Guild Radio Listening Room.
The Museum of Television & Radio was founded in 1975 by William S. Paley to collect and preserve television and radio programs and to make those programs available to the public. The New York branch is located at 25 West 52nd Street and is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 6 PM (8 PM Thursdays and 9 PM Fridays). The California branch is located at 465 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills and is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5 PM and until 9 PM on Thursdays. Go to http://www.mtr.org for information. The Screening Series at-a-glance:
Screening times in N.Y.C.: Tuesdays-Sundays at 12:30 PM
Screening times in L.A.: Wednesdays to Sundays at 12:30 PM
April 5-11: "Cinderella" — TV musical with Julie Andrews
April 12-18: "Tonight Show" — Rodgers guests along with Joshua Logan, Diahann Carroll, Florence Henderson and Earl Wrightson; "What's My Line?" — Rodgers and Hammerstein appear on the quiz show as mystery guests; "The 1979 Tony Awards" — Liv Ullmann and the cast of Broadway's I Remember Mama perform "A Little Bit More"
April 19-25: "Androcles and the Lion" — Noël Coward, John Cullum, Ed Ames, Geoffrey Holder, Norman Wisdom and Inga Swenson star in the Rodgers TV musical
April 26-May 2: "The American Musical Theatre" — Host Earl Wrightson welcomes Rodgers, who discusses his collaboration with Stephen Sondheim, Do I Hear a Waltz?. The show's stars, Sergio Franchi and Elizabeth Allen, perform several numbers; "ABC Stage 67: Rodgers and Hart Today" — Rodgers and Hart collaborations are given a 60's spin with performances by the Supremes, Petula Clark, Count Basie, Peter Gennaro, the Mamas and the Papas and others.
May 3-9: "Person to Person" — Edward R. Murrow interviews Rodgers and his wife Dorothy; "An Evening for Richard Rodgers" — Rodgers' friends and colleagues pay tribute to him, including performances by Vivienne Segal, Alfred Drake, Mary Martin and Vera Zorna
May 10-16: "Max Liebman Presents: Dearest Enemy" — Cyril Ritchard, Robert Sterling and Cornelia Otis Skinner star in an adaptation of Rodgers and Hart's 1925 musical
May 17-23: "General Foods: Presenting Rodgers and Hammerstein" — Yul Brynner, Mary Martin, Ezio Pinza, John Raitt and Jan Clayton re-create their Broadway moments in this tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein
May 24-30: "Max Liebman Presents: A Connecticut Yankee" — Eddie Albert stars in a revised version of Rodgers and Hart's 1927 Broadway hit
May 31-June 6: "Victory at Sea: Beneath the Southern Cross" — An episode from the 26-part documentary series, which featured music by Rodgers; "The Perry Como Show" — Como, Rodgers and the Ray Charles Singers perform a medley of Rodgers songs; "Stage 2: Rodgers and Hart Revisited" — Stuart Damon, Karen Morrow and Susan Watson sing some of Rodgers and Hart's less familiar tunes
June 7-13: "Armstrong Circle Theatre: Carousel" — Robert Goulet stars as Billy Bigelow in an adaptation of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical
June 14-20: "The Ed Sullivan Show" — Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll and Danny Kaye are among the performers who sing Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes during these vintage "Ed Sullivan" clips
June 21-30: "Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Sound of American Music" — Mary Martin hosts this documentary, which includes interviews with the songwriting team, rare TV clips and reminiscences from Shirley Jones, Agnes de Mille, John Raitt, Theodore Bikel and others.
By Andrew Gans