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Hart, Lorenz (1895–1943)
Pages 17

In the spring of 1919, when composer Richard Rodgers was introduced to lyricist Lorenz Hart, a partnership began that would ultimately revolutionize the American musical stage. Together, Rodgers and Hart wrote twenty-seven musicals for the New York theater, including A Connecticut Yankee (1927), On Your Toes (1936), Babes in Arms (1936), I’d Rather Be Right (1937), The Boys from Syracuse (1938), Too Many Girls (1939), Pal Joey (1940), and By Jupiter (1942), as well as eight scores for Hollywood musicals and songs interpolated in other Broadway shows. Their best-known songs-“Manhattan,” “My Heart Stood Still,” “Ten Cents a Dance,” “Where or When,” “My Funny Valentine,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “I Could Write a Book,” “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”—became the standard by which their successors would be measured. Hart’s witty, intricately rhymed, topical lyrics crystallized an upheaval in the conventions of songwriting for the musical theater; his work spurred the transition from revue-style theatrical music, typified by vaudeville and the Ziegfeld Follies, to the modern, “integrated” book musical, realized in Oklahoma! (Rodgers/Hammerstein, 1943).