Broadway Composer-Lyricists: From ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ to ‘Hamilton’

From Cole Porter to Lin-Manuel Miranda, former actress Debra Dickinson explores the lives and work of Broadway composer-lyricists whose extraordinary talents as poets and musicians have allowed them to create both music and lyrics.

Streetside view of Hamilton marquee

Most Broadway shows are the result of intense collaboration between a composer and a lyricist, but there are a few special individuals whose extraordinary talents as poets and musicians have allowed them to write both music and lyrics. The resulting music is some of Broadway’s best: the wittiest, most complex and loveliest songs to grace the Great White Way. Explore the lives, words and music of George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Frank Loesser, Meredith Willson, Jerry Herman, Stephen Schwartz, Stephen Sondheim, Jonathan Larson, Adam Guettel and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Audio and video clips bring their music to life with such performers as Ethel Merman, Alfred Drake, Angela Lansbury, Kelli O’Hara, Carol Channing, Audra McDonald and many more.


Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
GHUM1083.F17.1 Debra Dickinson On-campus 10-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Instructor: Debra Dickinson

Debra Dickinson, M.A. is an artist-teacher of opera studies at The Shepherd School of Music, Rice University. A professional actress in New York for 17 years, her varied credits include the role of Guenevere opposite both Richard Burton and Richard Harris in “Camelot,” and Jellylorum in the German language production of “Cats” in Vienna, Austria. She has taught master classes for Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ebony Opera, served as the acting instructor for Glimmerglass Opera, Brevard Opera and Chautauqua Opera and was the recipient of the Shelfer Chair in Music Theater at Florida State University. She has been on the faculty of Rice for more than 20 years. Ms. Dickinson holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a graduate degree from Hunter College in New York City.

Term: Fall 2017

Start Date: Sept. 19, 2017

End Date: Oct. 31, 2017

Schedule: 10-11:30 a.m.

Length: Six Tuesdays (no class Oct. 10)

Location: Rice campus

Fee: $190

Early Registration: $180 if registering by Sept. 5

Rice Alumni: $171

Note: This course is not currently accepting registrations. Please select VIEW CURRENT OFFERINGS to see similar classes offered by Community Programs.

+ George M. Cohan ("Yankee Doodle Dandy"), Irving Berlin ("Annie Get Your Gun")
+ Cole Porter ("Anything Goes," "Kiss Me Kate")
+ Frank Loesser ("Guys and Dolls," "How to Succeed"), Meredith Willson ("The Music Man")
+ Jerry Herman ("Hello, Dolly!," "La Cage aux Folles"), Stephen Schwartz ("Pippin," "Wicked")
+ Stephen Sondheim ("Sweeney Todd," "A Little Night Music")
+ Jonathan Larson ("Rent"), Adam Guettel ("Light in the Piazza"), Lin-Manuel Miranda ("Hamilton")

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