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South PacificParadise Rewritten$
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Jim Lovensheimer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377026

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377026.001.0001

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The Musical Is the Message

The Musical Is the Message

(p.14) 2 The Musical Is the Message
South Pacific

Jim Lovensheimer

Oxford University Press

Rodgers and Hammerstein brought liberal sensibilities to work and life from the 1930s through the late 1940s. Although Rodgers was perceived as less political than Hammerstein, the 1932 film The Phantom President, written with Lorenz Hart, was a satire about a presidential election, and their stage hit Babes in Arms (1937) endorsed Jewish liberalism. Hammerstein’s liberal leanings were present in his life and his art: from his early days in Hollywood, Hammerstein was involved with the Anti-Nazi League, which drew the attention of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and during World War II, he was a member of the Writers’ War Board, a group that was responsible for the American Red Cross ending its practice of segregating blood by race. While South Pacific was the most politically charged of their collaborations, works such as The King and I nonetheless reflect the duo’s beliefs in world harmony and cultural exchange.

Keywords:   Rodgers, Hammerstein, South Pacific, House Un-American Activities Committee, Hollywood Anti-Nazi League, Writers’ War Board, Babes in Arms

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