This six part documentary miniseries presents the evolution of the Broadway musical from its inception in 1893 to current day 2004. It presents those influential players both on stage and behind the scenes, as well as a variety of influential Broadway shows, a handful which are known to have transformed the musical into what the audience knows it to be today. The Broadway musical was often a reflection of what was happening in the world, but almost as often was meant to be an escape from problems of the world. Specific world events had a profound influence on the overall tone of Broadway shows, some of these events being wars (especially the world wars), Prohibition, the stock market crash and the Great Depression, and 9/11. Broadway musicals were also affected by the onset on various new media, such as talking movies and television. They in turn influenced other popular culture, especially what was known as the popular music of the day, especially up until the 1960s. Broadway ... Written by
The unidentified two-strip Technicolor sequences used to illustrate "The Ziegfeld Follies" were lifted out of Glorifying the American Girl. The star of this film, also unidentified although frequently shown in the clips, was 'Mary Eaton', sister of interviewee Doris Eaton. See more »
A two-strip technicolor clip of Dennis King and Jeanette MacDonald from The Vagabond King (q.v.) is used to illustrate the pre-Ziegfeld shows seen on Broadway before the turn of the century. The Vagabond King was not performed on Broadway until 1925, and the film was made four years later (1929) and released in 1930. See more »
I have just watched the first segment of Broadway: The American Musical on DVD. I just received the DVD today and right now it is one a.m., so I won't be watching any more tonight. Here I am, a Broadway musical fan watching it on my DVD player some 8,000 miles away from the Great White Way on November 29, 2004. According to the notes and the PBS website, this series ran on American TV just a few weeks ago. Whether the series meets every one of my expectations or not (though watching an, as always, perfectly-coifed over-90 Kitty Carlisle Hart remind herself of how irked she was about following a wet and messy seal act in vaudeville 70 or 75 years ago was worth the price of the DVD set in itself), the fact that PBS has chosen not to make us wait five or ten years, but barely a couple of weeks to be able to own this series and watch all or part of it any time we want deserves all my plaudits. Bravo. I look forward to the rest of the marvelous history, the marvelous singing, dancing, sets, and costumes in the segments that remain for me to view.
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