Do You Know the Lyrics to These Rodgers and Hammerstein Songs?


By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: Al Aumuller, World Telegram staff photographer

About This Quiz

"Oh, what a beautiful day..." to take a quiz on the songs of the brilliant duo Rodgers and Hammerstein! Are you a fan of this duo? Could you ace this quiz on the lyrics to some of their greatest songs? Here's your chance to find out! 

Rodgers and Hammerstein changed the face of Broadway and musical theater during their run together. This was, of course, after having successful careers separately before they finally joined forces. When the two finally came together, magic happened on stage, as Rodgers and Hammerstein composed some of the greatest songs in the history of musical theater, songs that are still remembered and sung today. 

In fact, the musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein broke records, won awards and delighted audiences for nearly 20 years as they transformed how musicals were viewed on Broadway. Their success spawned revivals as well as film adaptations of many of their greatest works, showing that their legacy will not soon be forgotten. 

How well do you know the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein? Can you sing all of their songs from "Oh, what a beautiful mornin'" to "Edelweiss"? If you think you can, then take this quiz and show everyone just how much you know about the legends of American musical theater! 

What lyrics come after "Edelweiss, Edelweiss, every morning you greet me..."?

"Edelweiss" was sung by the VonTrapps in The Sound of Music, the duo's last collaboration together. Before they'd met many years before, Richard Rodgers had been a musical composer who attended college at the Institute of Musical Art. His interest in music, however, can be traced back to his childhood.


Which lyrics come after "Climb every mountain, search high and low, follow every byway..."?

This is also from The Sound of Music, which is considered by many Rodgers and Hammersteiners to be their most famous work. This was more than 20 years after Rodgers had started his career, attending Columbia University where he met lyricist Lorenz Hart, whom he worked with until Hart's death in 1943. Richard Rodgers' first professional production, Poor Little Ritz Girl, had premiered in 1920.


How about "June is bustin' out all over! The ocean is full of Jack and Jills..."?

These lyrics are from Carousel, the second musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. It hit Broadway in 1945. Carousel featured an anti-hero protagonist, which was rare at the time in musical theatre. It was a popular decision, as the musical was another huge success on Broadway.


Complete this lyric: "They've spread the message far and wide, the Prince is giving a ball! They say he wants to find a bride..."

We hope you knew this was from Cinderella, the duo's only work intended for television, which aired in 1957.


And this one? "Impossible, for a plain yellow pumpkin..."

Yep, still Cinderella. You knew that. But did you also know that Rodgers professional song (not a full production, just his first song) debut was "Any Old Place With You" in 1919? It was part of the musical comedy A Lonely Romeo.


"I have heard people rant and rave and bellow that we're done and we might as well be dead, but I'm only a cockeyed optimist..."

"Cock-Eyed Optimist" was featured in South Pacific, another mega-hit for Rodgers and Hammerstein. It's 2008 revival even won no less than seven Tony Awards.


"You say goodbye, away you fly, but on your lips, you keep a kiss. All your life you'll dream of this..."

Ah Cinderella, living the fairytale. Cinderella aired on CBS in 1957.


"I'm as corny as Kansas in August..."

This is from South Pacific - even thought it does sound a bit like it could hail from Oklahoma!


"I was as faithful as can be—"

This is immediately followed by "Them stories 'bout the way I lost my bloomer—rumors!" in the song "All Er Nothin'" from Oklahoma! Incidentally, Oscar Hammerstein II was a lyricist who also attended Columbia University. However, he was there several years before Richard Rodgers.


"Do I want you because you're wonderful..."

This was also from Cinderella. Julie Andrews starred as Cinderella. Both Rodgers and Hammerstein were excited to work with her as she'd already had success on Broadway in musicals like The Boy Friend and My Fair Lady.


"I can't resist a Romeo in a sombrero and chaps. Soon as I sit on their laps..."

Oklahoma! opened on broadway in 1943. The show was so successful that it won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1944. But maybe the best part of the whole show was when this song, "I Cain't Say No", was born.


"Born on the opposite sides of the sea..."

It was in 1949 that Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific opened on Broadway. This show had an incredible run of over five years. This song was from the Finale.


"Talk about the moon floatin' in the sky..."

This is from "Happy Talk" in South Pacific. South Pacific was based on short stories by James Michener. The stories were from his book Tales of the South Pacific.


"Caught in our gold plated chains are we, lost in our wealthy domains are we..."

Did you know this is from "How Can Love Survive?" in The Sound of Music? If you did, you're most certainly taking the right quiz.


"I'm gonna wave that man..."

Thanks to a certain advertising campaign in the 80s, you might also know the other lyrics from this South Pacific gem: "I'm gonna wash that man right outta my hair..."


"For the world is full of zanies and..."

Another tidbit from Cinderella.


"I'm as mild and as meek as a mouse. When I hear a command, I obey. But, I know of a spot in my house..."

You go, girl! Er, Cinderella.


"Free like a bird in the woodland wild, free like a gypsy​..."

Some of the other popular musical standards from this show include "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" and the title track, "Oklahoma!" Altogether, now: "OHHH-klahoma-where-the-wind-goes-sweepin-down-the-plaaain..."


"I could swear that she was padded from her shoulder to her heel, but later in the second act..."

Oklahoma! was adapted into a film in 1955.


"Why should a woman who is healthy and strong blubber like a baby if..."

The story of Oklahoma! was based on Green Grow the Lilacs.


"She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee..."

This is what the nuns are singing in the beginning of The Sound of Music, wondering aloud just how they should solve a problem like their sister, Maria.


"But he spends so much time in his round-bottomed boat that he can't..."

Carousel has had several great revivals over the years. The most recent was in 2018. Richard Rodgers believed it was the best musical he ever wrote. Time Magazine once called it the best musical of the 20th century.


"Bloody Mary is the girl I love..."

This is from "Bloody Mary", another show-stopper in South Pacific. South Pacific won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It also won 10 Tony Awards.


"Brown paper packages tied up with strings..."

Ok, nevermind - "A Few of My Favorite Things" is definitely our favorite song from The Sound of Music. Isn't it everybody's?


"When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things..."

In fact, if you don't have this song stuck in your head by now, you might want to check your pulse.


"There's a bright, golden haze on the meadow. The corn is as high as..."

That's just how things grow in Oklahoma!


"Don't stand in the rain with me..."

This Oklahoma! interlude is almost a reverse love song, lyrically speaking, with both of the stars playing hard-to-get.


"Getting to know you, getting to know..."

The fifth musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein, The King and I starred Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner. The musical helped launch the career of Brynner, who went on to star in the film version of The King and I in 1956. Deborah Kerr took on the role of Anna.


"Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow..."

The story for The Sound of Music was based on the real-life memoir of Maria von Trapp. The book had been published 10 years before the musical reached Broadway.


"When men say I'm sweet as candy%0DAs around in a dance we whirl,%0DIt goes to my head like brandy..."

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song, which featured the song "I Enjoy Being a Girl", was produced in 1958. It was directed by Gene Kelly. The cast for Flower Drum Song was predominantly Asian, which was groundbreaking for Broadway at the time.


"The hills fill my heart with..."

Did we mention Julie Andrews is incredible?


"Oh why should I have spring fever..."

Rodgers and Hammerstein worked on the music for the 1945 film State Fair. Their song "It Might as Well Be Spring" from the film won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.


"And I set by myself like a cobweb on a shelf, by myself in..."

"A Lonely Room" was sung by the character of Jud Fry in Oklahoma! It wasn't featured in the 1955 movie version of the show, but was part of the original musical.


"Shall we then say goodnight and mean goodbye - or per chance, when the..."

The story for The King and I was based on the novel "Anna and the King of Siam" by Margaret Landon.


"And up in the nursery, an absurd little bird is..."

The Sound of Music was quite successful on Broadway, wining five Tony Awards. It was made into a popular film in 1965. These lyrics are from "So Long, Farewell" - a lovely little send-off that marked a pivotal plot point. "Good-bye! Good-byyyye! GOOD-BYYYYYYYYYYYYYYE...."


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