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Two is Better Than One

February 2, 2023

by Mary Donofrio

Gilbert and Sullivan were quite the dynamic duo and paved the way for other composing partnerships. Here are a few other duos that made musical magic together:

Rodgers and Hart
Composer Richard Rodgers and Lyricist Lorenz Hart were introduced in 1919 when both were students at Columbia University. Their partnership produced 28 stage musicals and over 500 songs. From musicals like Babes in Arms, Pal Joey, and The Boys from Syracuse, to songs like “Blue Moon,” “There’s a Small Hotel,” “Falling in Love with Love,” and “The Lady is a Tramp,” Rodgers and Hart’s work is an important touchstone of 20th century musical theatre.

Rodgers and Hammerstein
Oscar Hammerstein II was already individually successful before he teamed up with Richard Rodgers. Hammerstein was the lyricist and book writer on 1927’s smash hit, Show Boat. What followed after the partnership was formed has been described by many critics and historians as a golden age of 20th century musical theatre. The duo created classics like Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music, all of which are still widely produced today.

Lerner and Loewe
Lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and Composer Frederick Loewe met in 1942 at The Lambs Club in New York. Their first collaboration came later that year with Life of the Party, which was never produced on Broadway. Their first hit came with Brigadoon in 1947. Their masterpiece, however, was My Fair Lady, whose 1956 premiere set the record for the longest-running Broadway show at that time. Their other collaborations include Paint Your Wagon, Camelot, and the film-turned-stage musical Gigi.

Kander and Ebb
John Kander and Fred Ebb’s first musical Flora the Red Menace premiered in 1965, starring Liza Minnelli in her Broadway debut. Cabaret followed in 1966, establishing the pair as an innovative creative force for the latter half of the century. With diverse offerings such as Chicago, The Scottsboro Boys, and Curtains they were able to adapt their styles to a variety of stories. Their most famous song, however, is the theme from the 1977 Martin Scorsese film, New York, New York.