No Strings, the first musical with music and lyrics written solely by Richard Rodgers, was Rodgers’ first project after the passing of his longtime collaborator, Oscar Hammerstein II. With a book by Samuel A. Taylor, this 1962 musical comedy twinkled with a Parisian flair when it debuted on Broadway at the 54th Street Theatre on March 15, 1962. In a nod to the title, Rodgers and orchestrator Ralph Burns chose to arrange the score without any string instruments.
The musical was a hit, winning three Tony Awards, including Best Composer for Rodgers, and the cast recording went on to win a Grammy for Best Original Cast Show Album. In 1963, the show premiered in London’s West End at Her Majesty’s Theatre. City Center presented No Strings as part of its Encore! series in 2003, and in March 2020, the musical was revived off-Broadway at Theatre Row.
Two Americans – Barbara Woodruff, a successful model, and David Jordan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist – meet and fall in love in Paris. Facing a paralyzing bout of writer’s block, David has abandoned his profession to live the indolent life of a “Europe bum,” traveling from city to city and sponging off rich American tourists. Though Barbara encourages him return to his profession, David cannot resist the easy life. Eventually, he realizes he must return to his home in Maine, alone, if he is ever to make anything of himself again. Reluctantly—with no strings—the lovers part.