The extremely powerful Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization just got immensely more powerful. The company, which represents the stage rights to over 70 musicals, including classics by Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill, has just signed a contract giving it exclusive rights to license all United States and Canadian stock and amateur theatrical productions of Cats, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar and three other Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. The R&H was founded by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and its Theatre Library division is in charge of the rights to all of the famous composing duo's musicals, including Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music and Carousel. In addition, the library has, over the years, become the representative to many of the musicals of Berlin (Annie Get Your Gun, As Thousands Cheer), Weill (Three Penny Opera, Lost in the Stars), Lorenz Hart (Pal Joey), as well as modern writers such as Adam Guettel (Floyd Collins) and Michael John LaChiusa (The Wild Party).
The other Lloyd Webber shows now controlled by R&H are Song & Dance, Aspects of Love and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Cats recently closed on Broadway after an 18-year run. It holds the title of longest running show on Broadway.
—By Robert Simonson