Columbians Ahead of Their Time
 Lorenz Hart
Lorenz Hart “The theater-going public is so many intellectual cuts above the popular music-buying public that it’s criminal to hand them a series of metrical insults and call it a score. Songs should advance the plot.”

Lorenz Hart (1895–1943)
Journalism 1914–16

Hart was one of the towering figures of the American musical theater in the early twentieth century. His collaborations with composer Richard Rodgers (Columbia College 1919–21) produced dozens of classic songs such as “Manhattan,” “Blue Moon,” and “The Lady Is a Tramp” from shows such as Connecticut Yankee (1927), The Boys from Syracuse (1938), Pal Joey (1940), and By Jupiter (1942). Their success made Hart the first popular-song lyricist to receive equal billing with the composer. His nimble word play, sophisticated themes, and internal rhyme schemes, combined with Rodgers’s scores, propelled musical theater to a new level of elegance.

At Columbia Hart studied journalism and wrote poetry. He returned in the fall of 1919 to write the lyrics for the music composed by Rodgers, a Columbia College freshman, for the Columbia Varsity Show. The success of the show, entitled Fly with Me, spawned a twenty-year partnership between the two.

After Hart’s death in 1943, Rodgers began his successful partnership with Oscar Hammerstein II (Columbia College 1916).

Read more about Hart in the Columbia Encyclopedia.

Lorenz Hart was enshrined in the Songwriters' Hall of Fame at its inception.

Richard Rogers, Lorenz Hart, and Oscar Hammerstein II are among the famous alumni of Columbia s Varsity Show.

Rodgers & Hammerstein II

Changing the face of American musical theater.

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