By Ethan Mordden
Vividly recreating the original excitement of experiencing a song-and-dance express, Broadway infants spotlights the lads and girls who made a distinction within the improvement of yankee musical comedy. Mordden's account beneficial properties 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!, something is going, express Boat, Oklahoma!, Follies, Chicago, and numerous others. whereas theatrical historians usually have emphasised the function of the authors of musicals, Mordden additionally examines the private varieties of the administrators, choreographers, and manufacturers, with a view to reveal not just what the musical grew to become yet what it used to be. the quantity comprises an in depth discography--the first of its kind--which deals an almost self-contained heritage of recorded convey track.
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Extra resources for Broadway Babies: The People Who Made the American Musical
Fields, Leon Errol, Ina Claire, Ann Pennington, and Mae Murray. 1917 was even more impressive, with Fanny Brice, Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers, and Lilyan Tashman joining Pennington and Fields. 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.
But the dancing star needs a tap number. " It works beautifully. As you play it over one last time, five pages' worth of telegram arrive from Ziegfeld, whose only message is that the dancer has left the show. night the phone rings you awake; it's Ziegfeld, with another idea, a Sports Number, with The Girls coming in and out attired for tennis, polo, and so on. Quick, a sports song. "The Gondola Glide" becomes "Pour le Sport"—but now Ziegfeld wants to do it in front of a meadow set, with The Girls dressed as .
But it seems that Herbert had already made all the innovations possible given production and performance technology and what the public would bear. He had defined an American style for musical comedy and operetta alike. What more could he do? He died in 1924, just before his financially most successful creations were heard: Rose-Marie, The Student Prince, The Vagabond King, The Desert Song, The New Moon. Rudolf Friml and Sigmund Romberg composed them: but Herbert designed them. His two successors worked, like him, in musical comedy as well as operetta, but where Herbert mixed the styles, inventing and replacing parts according to the challenge in each next story, Friml and Romberg grew out of musical comedy into operetta, where they expunged as much of the musical comedy as possible.