Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart

Tune in weekday mornings for Stories of Standards to hear our favorite versions of “Falling In Love With Love.” Rodney Franks presents Stories of Standards Monday through Friday at 7:50 and 8:50 a.m.!

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“Falling In Love With Love” by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart was written in 1938 for the Broadway show “The Boys From Syracuse”, which Rodgers had based on Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors”. With choreography by George Balanchine, the play ran from Nov. 23, 1938 to Jun 10, 1939. “The Boys from Syracuse” was the first American musical based on a Shakespeare. “Falling In Love With Love” was sung by Muriel Angelus (Adriana) as the disillusioned wife of one of the Dromius twins. The play was made as a film of the same title in 1940, with Allan Jones as Antipholus (both of Dromius and of Syracuse) and Irene Hervey as Adriana. Richard Rodgers wrote of Hart in his introduction to “The Rodgers and Hart Song Book” that “His lyrics knew…that love was not especially devised for boy and girl idiots of fourteen and he expressed himself to that extent.”

Richard Rodgers (June 28, 1902 – Dec 30, 1979) wrote 43 Broadway musicals and over 900 songs and was one of the most significant American composers of the 20th century. Best known for his partnerships with Lorenz Hart (1919 – 1943) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1943 – 1960), he was celebrated for focusing stories on characters and drama. He went on to write both lyrics and music for plays and movies. He was the first person to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony (now collectively known as an EGOT). He also was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, which made him one of only two people to win all five of these (Marvin Hamlisch is the other). A Broadway theater was named for him after his death.

Lorenz Hart (May 2, 1895 – Nov 22, 1943) was often described as a poet, but friend and fellow writer Henry Myers said “Larry in particular was primarily a showman. If you can manage to examine his songs technically, and for the moment elude their spell, you will see that they are all meant to be acted, that they are part of a play. Larry was a playwright.” Hart regarded himself as too unattractive to be loved, which contributed to his alcoholism and depression and erratic behavior which eventually led to the breakup of his partnership with Rodgers, shortly before Hart’s death of pneumonia. He had been devastated by the death of his widowed mother, seven months earlier. Hart’s brilliant use of wordplay and internal rhyme greatly enhanced Rodgers melodies and intensified the emotional effect of their music, which ranged from extremes of comic to tragic exposition.

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