Follows the four high-profile productions that would eventually become Tony nominees for Best Musical of 2004: "Wicked," (currently the highest grossing musical of all time), the Rosie O'Donnell/Boy George musical brought from London, "Taboo," Tony Kushner's "Caroline, or Change," and a grown-up puppet show called "Avenue Q." Digging behind the scenes, from casting and out-of-town previews to the suspense-filled Tony Awards, "ShowBusiness" provides an engrossing look at the inner workings of Broadway musicals. Listening in to critics around the dinner table, interviews with the creators, footage of rehearsals and openings all combine to make this one of the most entertaining documentaries (and dramas) about the world of musical theater. Written by
The song that Idina Menzel sings over the credits is a much-changed version of "Lullaby of Broadway," written by Al Dubin and Harry Warren. The song originally appeared in the Warner Brothers film Gold Diggers of 1935and won the 1936 Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was one of many Warren and Dubin songs eventually included in the 1980 musical "42nd Street" (based mostly, but not entirely, on their 1933 movie of the same name). The version that Menzel sings in this documentary was arranged by Jan Folkson and Jeanine Tesori and given an almost entirely new tune, as well as some new lyrics - a spoken interlude drawn from Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay's 1920 poem "On Broadway;" Billy Porter performed the McKay portion of the song. See more »
At one point during the end credits, the recording session for Idina Menzel's version of "Lullaby of Broadway" is shown. See more »
Taken from Fiddler on the Roof Original Broadway Cast
Written by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock
Mayerting Productions Ltd. and Jerry Bock Enterprises
Copyright 1964: copyright renewed 1992
Performed by Zero Mostel, Company
Conducted by Milton L. Greene
Courtesy of RCA Victor
By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC Licensing See more »
This documentary is perfect for both theater people and non-theater people --- really, anybody who's ever gone to a musical and had a good time. It gives a pretty good account of the long, sometimes arduous process of writing, rehearsing, and staging a musical. It's informative, it's entertaining, it's funny. It's very inspiring to see a group of people doing what they love to do (it's like Man on Wire in that sense), but it's very honest about the fact that shows close early, people can be out on the streets pretty quickly, and there is a sense of sadness as well as joy to the film.
The only reason I don't give it ten stars is that its issues are not as important as, say, "When the Levee Broke" or "Sicko." But it does what it sets out to do, is well worth watching, and I know I'll be watching it more than once.
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