The new innovative musical on Broadway starting this era was "West Side Story", the first musical to integrate dance movement into the everyday movement of the characters. The movement was matched by ...
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Broadway was dominated by two names: George M. Cohan and Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.. Cohan wrote and starred in his own shows. Ziegfeld pioneered the revue show, ...
The radical cultural changes that occurred in the 1920's were reflected in the Broadway musical. Musically, jazz ruled the Broadway musical stage. There was also a sense of liberation in the style of...
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, 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 musicals ... Written by
The unidentified two-strip Technicolor sequences used to illustrate "The Ziegfeld Follies" were lifted out of Glorifying the American Girl (1929). 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 »
This in-depth mini-series (6 episodes) took the story of Broadway musicals from the vaudeville age and Mr Ziegfeld's spectaculars right up to the present day with Wicked! On the way, in the capable hands of presenter Julie Andrews, we remember Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jerome Kern, Kander and Ebb, Jerry Herman, 42nd Street, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Hair!, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Rent, and La Cage Aux Folles.
There are tantalising clips from rare TV broadcasts and films (perhaps a weakness of the series is that people TALK over the clips - who wants to hear someone remember a show when you can see John Raitt sing Soliloquy from Carousel?) which are well-worth seeing the series in themselves. Contemporary and archive interviews bring the likes of Jerome Robbins, Kitty Carlisle, Jerry Orbach, and Tommy Tune into the story.
For my money, the best episodes were the first two, for the rare footage shown. But you'd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the toll of musical theatre back-room boys (and front-line artists) lost to AIDS.
A fantastic trip along the Great White Way - thanks to PBS for putting it together, and to BBC4 for airing it in the UK.
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