Top of page

January 1945 script of “Carousel” with handwritten annotations and sheet music publication of “If I Loved You,” Oscar Hammerstein II Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress. (Library of Congress/Nicholas A. Brown)

Red, White & Royal Love Song

Share this post:

The following is a guest post by Music Division Assistant Chief, Nicholas Brown.

In honor of this Saturday’s National Book Festival, the Music Division is pleased to share a page-to-screen tidbit relating to the new romantic comedy film “Red, White & Royal Blue” (Prime, 2023) that is being released on August 11, 2023. Based on author Casey McQuiston’s New York Times bestseller of the same title and directed by Tony Award-winner Matthew Lopez, “Red, White & Royal Blue” has several connections to the Library, plus a surprise connection to the Music Division’s special collections.

McQuiston’s novel follows the story of Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the President of the United States, as he and an English prince go from enemies to friends and more. [Spoiler alert] They come to terms with their own identities and feelings for each other while they are under the scrutiny of the public in their high profile roles.

The featured song on the film’s soundtrack is a cover of “If I Loved You” from the Broadway musical “Carousel” (1945) by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers, which was adapted for film in 1956. Performed by Vagabon, a New York-based Cameroonian-American singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, this rendition of “If I Loved You” offers an ethereal indie/folk performance interpretation of the classic song. The lyrics are also on point for the new film, as they highlight how love can be wonderful and complex:

Excerpt, “If I Loved You,” lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

If I loved you,
Time and again I would try to say
All I’d want you to know.
If I loved you,
Words wouldn’t come in an easy way
Round in circles I’d go!

Oscar Hammerstein II with his first wife, Myra Finn Hammerstein, 1900, Bain News Service Photograph Collection, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

The Music Division is a preeminent repository of the history of American musical theater. Among the numerous special collections of major 20th and 21st century musical theater creators is the collection of Oscar Hammerstein II (1865-1960), the librettist and lyricist behind several of the most iconic American musicals like “South Pacific,” “The Sound of Music,” “Cinderella,” and more. The collection includes correspondence, business papers, scripts, research notes, sheet music, and lyric sketches for “Carousel.” Explore select items from the collection in the Library’s digital collection.

Over the years, “If I Loved You” has been performed and recorded by countless artists, including Josh Groban and Audra McDonald, Perry Como, Judy and Bing Crosby, Julie Andrews, Charlotte Church, Barbra Streisand, Elvis Presley and more. Explore the Library’s Recorded Sound Collections to see some of the discography.

Author Casey McQuiston in conversation with Library of Congress Chief Communications Officer Roswell Encina in the Coolidge Auditorium, August 8, 2023 (Library of Congress/David Rice).

On August 8, 2023, McQuiston visited the Library for a public conversation about their romance novel and to donate signed copies of three editions of Red, White & Royal Blue to the Library’s collections. They also appeared in conversation with author Jacob Tobia for a joint Library of Congress and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts pride speaker series in 2020. Learn more about the Library’s LGBTQ+ Performing Arts Collections.

If you plan to attend the National Book Festival on Saturday, August 12, be sure to stop by the Music Division’s table (Floor 2, Hall DE) between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to learn about upcoming events and how to engage with our collections.

Learn more about the Oscar Hammerstein II Papers:

Explore Casey McQuiston’s Works:

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *