Download Broadway Babies: The People Who Made the American Musical by Ethan Mordden PDF

By Ethan Mordden

Vividly recreating the original excitement of experiencing a song-and-dance exhibit, Broadway infants spotlights the boys and girls who made a distinction within the improvement of yankee musical comedy. Mordden's account good points such express humans as Florenz Ziegfeld, Harold Prince, Bert Lahr, Gwen Verdon, Angela Lansbury, Victor Herbert, Liza Minnelli, and Stephen Sondheim, and such musicals as Sally, Oh Kay!, whatever is going, express Boat, Oklahoma!, Follies, Chicago, and numerous others. whereas theatrical historians routinely have emphasised the position of the authors of musicals, Mordden additionally examines the private varieties of the administrators, choreographers, and manufacturers, on the way to reveal not just what the musical grew to become yet what it used to be. the quantity contains an in depth discography--the first of its kind--which bargains a nearly self-contained background of recorded express tune.

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Dancers? Anna Held? Must the hoofing chorus look as sensational as The Girls? Will an evening of acts hold together on sheer energy, or should there be an overriding theme? What kind of comedy, who writes the songs, how long is enough? By 1915 the tinkering was over. The 1910 edition introduced the most intriguing Ziegfeld star, Fanny Brice. The 1911 edition established a new and permanent title: The Ziegfeld Follies. The 1913 edition took over the New Amsterdam Theatre, the choicest house on Broadway.

By the time the Follies was inaugurated in 1907, theatregoers were no longer mostly men gentlemanly agreed on the use of the stage as an arena of lubricious agenda. Then why retain The Girls? It is one of the musical's unanswered questions. Ziegfeld's Girls were the best, to be sure—at The Walk, back hard and breasts thrust forward; with The Look, into an imaginary mirror, content; in The Dress, skimpy at the flesh but detailed in headdress or cape. The numbers that framed them might look silly today, with some mouthy tenor paying out a theme song such as "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" or "The Girl of My Dreams" and the orchestra simply restating the tune while The Girls had their parade down a staircase.

But offstage, where only his colleagues could see, he was a megalomaniac who changed a word in every lyric he sang, thereby "earning" byline credit and royalties; who feared rivals like Eddie Cantor as a witch The Urban Ethnic Emergence 31 fears water in Oz; who reportedly maintained the most rapacious audition couch in show biz; who, in his prime, had anyone who showed a glimmer of talent fired out of his shows. Few performers so popular onstage were so hated off it. It's all in the vantage. A famous story has Jolson rising from his seat in the auditorium to sing "Liza" to his wife Ruby Keeler in Show Girl.

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