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Something Wonderful: Celebrating the Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein
American Song

Something Wonderful: Celebrating the Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein

Todd S. Purdum, author of Something Wonderful, shares fascinating stories with R&H authority Ted Chapin about American theater’s greatest and most beloved songwriting team. Jessica Molaskey and special guest John Pizzarelli, a pair of brilliant Songbook interpreters, provide the musical illustration.

This lively conversation between Purdum and Chapin, who is President and Chief Creative Officer of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, was Inspired by Purdum’s recent book, Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution.

Singer Jessica Molaskey and special guest John Pizzarelli on guitar add to the magic of the evening by weaving the timeless music of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II throughout anecdotes and recollections of the partners’ lives inside and outside the theater. Favorite numbers performed from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s groundbreaking shows – “Oklahoma!,” “Carousel,” “The Sound of Music,” “The King and I” and more – transport audiences back to the time of the Golden Age musical and the duo whose compositions spoke to generations.  

Stay for the book signing! Purdum autographs copies of Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution, available for purchase following this event.

Todd S. Purdum is also the author of An Idea Whose Time Has Come and A Time of Our Choosing. He is a staff writer at The Atlantic, having previously worked at The New York Times for more than 20 years, where he served as White House correspondent, diplomatic correspondent, and Los Angeles bureau chief. He has also been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a senior writer at Politico.

Ted Chapin, the host of three seasons of NJTV’s American Songbook at NJPAC, was chosen by the Rodgers and Hammerstein families to run the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, which is responsible for management of the copyrights created by Richard Rodgers and/or Oscar Hammerstein II. On his watch, there have been seven Tony Award-winning revivals on Broadway. He has encouraged new Broadway productions, among them Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and highly rated television productions The Sound of Music Live! on NBC and the multi-racial Cinderella with Whitney Houston on ABC. Chapin was the co-founder of the Encores! series at New York City Center and chairman of the American Theater Wing.  

Jessica Molaskey is a veteran of a dozen Broadway shows, including the revival of Sunday in the Park with George, A Man of No Importance, Parade and Les Miserables. She most recently played Marie in the Encores! production of The Most Happy Fella. She has five critically acclaimed solo CDs and has performed in concert from Lincoln Center to Carnegie and Disney halls to the Montreal and Monterey jazz festivals. For the past nine years, she and her husband, John Pizzarelli, have enjoyed a two-month, sold-out engagement at the Café Carlyle in New York.

Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli has been hailed by The Boston Globe for “reinvigorating the Great American Songbook and re-popularizing jazz.” Established as one of the prime contemporary interpreters of the Songbook, he has expanded that repertoire by including the music of Paul McCartney, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell and many others. Pizzarelli returned to the bossa nova of Antônio Carlos Jobim with last year’s release of the album Sinatra & Jobim @ 50, with co-vocalist Daniel Jobim, grandson of the composer. His latest album is a follow-up to his wildly successful Midnight McCartney, an album The New Yorker said “may be the best collection of McCartney covers ever recorded.”

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