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 convey 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, exhibit Boat, Oklahoma!, Follies, Chicago, and numerous others. whereas theatrical historians frequently have emphasised the position of the authors of musicals, Mordden additionally examines the non-public sorts of the administrators, choreographers, and manufacturers, as a way to reveal not just what the musical turned yet what it used to be. the quantity comprises an in depth discography--the first of its kind--which deals a nearly self-contained historical past of recorded express track.
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Additional resources for Broadway Babies: The People Who Made the American Musical
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.
Anyway, it appears that Ziegfeld sought Williams out because he had heard that Belasco was negotiating with him. So the importance of Williams's integrating the Broadway musical lies not in any gala success story, but in the influence Williams exercised as a Ziegfeld star, in 1910 and five later editions, including the key one of 1919. The Follies were not just big Broadway gifts to city folk, but big road items, national art. And what this very general public saw in Williams was neither offensive white stereotyping nor selfaggrandizing black rebuttal, but a total dismissal of both approaches for something honest, amusing, and artistic.
Throughout the series, from 1907 to 1931, there was billing for only one star: Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. The Great Glorifier 39 No one seems to have known how the show worked. Journalists assessing the Ziegfeld Touch would dance around the famous good Ziegfeld taste but never land on anything concrete; even Gilbert Seldes, a pioneer in the serious appreciation of pop art, wrote an article on Ziegfeld without saying a single thing about him. Yet, once he got his bearings, Ziegfeld kept his Follies trimmed on very certain lines.
Broadway Babies: The People Who Made the American Musical by Ethan Mordden