Tag Archives: Rogers and Hammerstein

The Arts: Pulitzer Prizes

This photo by the AP's Oded Balilty won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography. Uploaded by ap.org.

It’s ironic that Joseph Pulitzer, a newspaper owner noted in his time for shaping the truth to fit his personal views, has become synonymous with excellence in journalism and literature. Pulitzer arranged his estate so that, upon his death in 1911, a significant sum would go to New York’s Columbia University to establish a school of journalism and to recognize excellence in his lifetime profession.

Uploaded by fbi.gov.

Today, Pulitzer Prizes are awarded in 21 categories, from the broad (Fiction) to the very narrow (Editorial Cartooning). Winners receive a $10,000 cash prize, though the increase in earnings that comes from identifying oneself or one’s works as “Pulitzer Prize Winner” can be substantial.

Looking at past winners of the prizes reveals some exceptionally deserving works. Tom Shales for Criticism… The Road by Cormac McCarthy and The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway in Fiction… Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry, and South Pacific by Rogers and Hammerstein in Drama… Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland in Music… Edwin Arlington Robinson, Robert Frost, and Marianne Moore in Poetry… Charles Krauthammer in Commentary… and David McCullough for John Adams in Biography.

Joseph Pulitzer was respected during his lifetime for his intense personal drive and passions. But he rehabilitated his less savory journalistic tendencies by attaching his name to an enduring award for excellence. By the way…the award’s powers that be tell us that the correct pronunciation is “Pull it, sir.” So now we know.

A great video featuring Pulitzer Prize winning photographs of recent years:

Film: The Sound of Music

I want to visit Austria and stand in this very field. Uploaded by 1.bp.blogspot.com (Gannett News Service/Fox Video).

I want to visit Austria and stand in this very field. Uploaded by 1.bp.blogspot.com (Gannett News Service/Fox Video).

There aren’t many good musicals made anymore, probably because they don’t typically involve explosions, aliens, or extensive computer graphics that appeal to males under 25. But there was a time, not that long ago, when musicals were among the best movies made. Singin’ in the Rain. Oliver. And one of the best of all time, The Sound of Music.

Based on the stage musical by Rogers and Hammerstein (Great American Things No. 92) The Sound of Music tells the story of Austria’s von Trapp family as they broke in a new governess (Julie Andrews) and reclaimed a brokenhearted father (Christopher Plummer). It’s filled with wonderful songs – “Climb Every Mountain,” “Do Re Mi,” “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite Things,” and of course, “The Sound of Music.”

"Do we have to sing Do-Re-Mi again?" Uploaded by theage.com.au. One bit of trivia I find interesting is that “Edelweiss” is not the traditional song of the Austrian homeland as portrayed in the movie. In fact, it was written by Oscar Hammerstein and was entirely unknown in Austria before the movie. The country has embraced it wholeheartedly now, as you might imagine.

Other casting facts: Although Mary Martin originated the role on Broadway (that’s some resume, along with South Pacific and Peter Pan), Audrey Hepburn was the first actress considered for the role of Maria… Sean Connery and Richard Burton were considered for the role of Captain von Trapp… Actors who auditioned for one of the child roles include Richard Dreyfuss, Kurt Russell, Patty Duke, and most of the Osmond family.

Adjusted for inflation, The Sound of Music is the third-highest-grossing film of all time, behind Gone with the Wind and Star Wars. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won five, including Best Picture. In 2007, The American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies ranked it number 40 all time, and gave it the number four spot on its 100 Musicals list.