Chapin and Asch Will Discuss "Lyrics by Hammerstein" Jan. 15 in NYC

News   Chapin and Asch Will Discuss "Lyrics by Hammerstein" Jan. 15 in NYC
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts will present a public conversation, "Lyrics by Hammerstein," 6 PM Jan. 15, celebrating the recent publication of "The Complete Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II."

Ted Chapin, president of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, will chat with the book's editor, Amy Asch. They'll discuss the work of the late master theatre lyricist whose career included operettas (The Desert Song, Rose-Marie, The New Moon) and musicals for Broadway (Show Boat, Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King and I and more), film ("State Fair") and television ("Cinderella").

Admission is free and on a first-come, first-served basis. The event will be held at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center Plaza in the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts.

For more information visit or call (212) 870-1680.


Part of the so-far six-book "Complete Lyrics" series from Knopf, "The Complete Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II" was released Dec. 1. Hammerstein and Jerome Kern's Music in the Air (1932) is being produced (in a concert version) by Encores! Feb. 5-8, 2009, at New York City Center. Lincoln Center Theater's Tony Award-winning revival of South Pacific, with music by Richard Rodgers, is currently playing the Vivian Beaumont Theater.

Hammerstein (1895-1960) is regarded by many as the father of the modern musical.

Scion of a theatrical dynasty, Hammerstein, who was born in 1895, came of age during the era of operetta, contributing to Desert Song, The New Moon and Rose-Marie and more. He broke new ground in 1927 with the landmark (serious-themed) musical Show Boat (music by Jerome Kern), and pushed the musical theatre even further in his shows (starting in 1943 with Oklahoma!) with composer Richard Rodgers. His last musical was The Sound of Music.

A seven-year project for editor Amy Asch (who is an editor of the Playbill Broadway Yearbook and's regional listings editor), the book boasts all of Hammerstein's lyrics — 850, more than a quarter published for the first time. A lean volume of Hammerstein's selected (by him) lyrics, under the title "Lyrics," was the only compilation available prior to this. His essay "Notes on Lyrics" is treasured by musical theatre songwriters.

The new 448-page "Complete Lyrics" has 81 photos, a foreword by daughter Alice Hammerstein Mathias and an introduction by Chapin. Critic Charles Isherwood of the New York Times recently recommended it to his readers.

Asch traveled the world in search of Hammerstein's lyrics.

"I really loved doing the research for this book," Asch told "In New York, I studied published and unpublished scripts, lyrics and musical material, clippings and programs at the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, the New York Public Library for Performing Arts, Tams-Witmark, the Shubert Archive, and the Museum of the City of New York.

"The music division of the Library of Congress has several relevant collections — the papers of Hammerstein, Rodgers, Jerome Kern, Sigmund Romberg, plus the Warner-Chappell treasures from Secaucus, and copyright deposit copies of libretti and sheet music.

"In Los Angeles, I consulted Miles Kreuger's Institute of the American Musical, the Margaret Herrick Library, USC's Cinema-Television Library, USC's Warner Bros. archive, and special collections at UCLA.

"In London I saw material at the British Library (Lord Chamberlain's Plays) and the Theatre Museum."

Among the treasures she sifted through were personal and business letters.


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