Ariana Grande‘s “7 Rings” rose to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, on the chart dated Feb. 2. The tune features a sample of “My Favorite Things,” Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic off The Sound of Music.
Since composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist-dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II are co-writers on Grande’s new smash hit, here are five things to know about the legendary musical theatre writing duo.
1. Rodgers and Hammerstein were university acquaintances, but did not work together until years later
Before teaming up with Hammerstein, Rodgers worked with lyricist Lorenz Hart on more than 40 successful musical comedies that were popular on Broadway, in London and in Hollywood. After Hart passed away in the early 1940s, Rodgers reached out to Hammerstein to collaborate on a reconstruction of a play, Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs.
2. Their first musical together was Oklahoma!
The production was based on Riggs’ play, and premiered in March 1943. The musical soon became recognized as the first of a new genre, a fusion of Rodgers’ musical comedy knowledge with Hammerstein’s operetta technique. The wildly successful show ran for a 2,212 performances and received a Pulitzer Prize in 1944. They went on to create a number of other classics, such as Carousel, South Pacific, Cinderella and The King and I.
3. The Sound of Music was the duo’s last production as a team
The famous musical opened at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 16, 1959, less than a year before Hammerstein died in August 1960. Fittingly, “Edelweiss” was the last song that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote together.
4. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s work has won more than 60 awards
Their accolades include 42 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, two Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards.
5. Rodgers continued writing for Broadway after Hammerstein’s death
His first solo production, No Strings, won two Tony Awards for music and lyrics. His other works include Do I Hear a Waltz?, Two By Two, Rex and I Remember Mama. In honor of the legend, more than a decade after he died, Broadway’s 46th Street Theatre was renamed The Richard Rodgers Theatre in March 1990.