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HAMMERSTEIN, Oscar, II (1895-1960)

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HAMMERSTEIN, Oscar, II (1895-1960), American librettist, who helped raise American musical comedy to true musical theater. The grandson of the impresario Oscar Hammerstein, he was born in New York City and studied law at Columbia University. His earliest notable librettos were for Rose Marie (1924), by the Bohemian-American composer Rudolf Friml; The Desert Song (1926), by the Hungarian-American Sigmund Romberg; and Show Boat (1927), by the American Jerome Kern. In 1943 he began working with Richard Rodgers. Their first work, Oklahoma! (1943; Pulitzer Prize, 1944), won extraordinary acclaim, and their South Pacific (1949; Pulitzer Prize, 1950) is regarded as one of the best musical plays ever written. Their other musicals include Carousel (1945), The King and I(1951), Me and Juliet (1953), and The Sound of Music (1959). Hammerstein's most famous song lyrics include "Indian Love Call," "Ol' Man River," "People Will Say We're in Love," and "Some Enchanted Evening."

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