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After long and highly distinguished careers with other collaborators, RICHARD RODGERS (Composer, 1902-1979) and OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II (Librettist/Lyricist, 1895-1960) joined forces in 1943 to create the most consistently fruitful and successful partnership in the American musical theater. Oklahoma!, the first Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, was also the first of a new genre, the musical play, blending Rodgers’ sophisticated style of musical comedy (which he had perfected in a 25-year partnership with lyricist Lorenz Hart) with Hammerstein’s innovations in operetta (conceived in collaboration with such composers as Sigmund Romberg, Vincent Youmans, Rudolf Friml, and Jerome Kern). Oklahoma! was followed by Carousel (1945), the movie State Fair (1945; remade 1962; Broadway premiere, 1996), Allegro (1947), South Pacific (1949), The King and I (1951), Me and Juliet (1953), Pipe Dream (1955), the TV musical Cinderella (1957; remade 1965, 1997); Flower Drum Song (1958), and The Sound of Music (1959).