I, like Mark Steyn love musicals. I have actually talked to Mark about my love of musicals, when he was visiting Toronto some years ago. Mark has written an amazing piece about Eidelweiss.
I love the Sound of Music , Rogers and Hammerstein and Mark Steyn!
I am a physician in practice and a great fan of yours. A few years back you wrote a column on the history behind the song “Edelweiss” which I found among your best ever. I have not been able to find this anywhere. Please help me! Thanks!
Juan Llompart-Zeno, MD
MARK SAYS: My pleasure. Makes a nice change in a week of apocalyptic doom-mongering, so I'm happy to oblige. And don't forget, if you've a favorite column or even a favourite column you'd like us to reprise, drop me a line here.
Oscar Hammerstein takes his leave
from Steyn's Song of the Week, October 26th 2009
One night in September 1959, Oscar Hammerstein II came home late for dinner to his house on 63rd Street in Manhattan. He'd been for a doctor's appointment, and been told he had a stomach ulcer. His new show, The Sound Of Music, was just about to begin its out-of-town tryout in New Haven, but Hammerstein would have to miss it and go in for an operation. On the big day, Dorothy Hammerstein and his sons William and James went to the hospital, and afterwards were given the bad news by the surgeon. They had removed three-quarters of Hammerstein's stomach but had been unable to get all the cancer cells. He had six months to a year to live.
What to do? "Because of the kind of person he was," said William Hammerstein, "and the super-positive attitude he had towards life, we decided not to tell him. Because it wouldn't have done him any good." But they did tell his composing partner Richard Rodgers. In New Haven that week, Rodgers knew but Hammerstein didn't that the most successful team in theatre history was trying out its last show. As always, the composer was business first. After getting the news, he called in his daughter Mary, a talented writer in her own right - she's the author of, among other confections, Freaky Friday, and back then she was busy working on her own first musical, Once Upon A Mattress...