Broadway Musicals by Martin Gottfried

By Martin Gottfried

This notable quantity explores the musical theater in all its dimensions with approximately four hundred photos, 112 of them in complete colour, together with unique construction photographs of the entire nice musicals, from convey Boat to A refrain Line, at the twentieth Century, and Sweeney Todd.
The incisive textual content via critic Martin Gottfried supplies a full of life account of the musical theater: how musical comedy of the Twenties and Thirties grew into the "musical play" of the Forties and 1 950s and the way that improvement was once overtaken via modern day "concept" musical; how songs in a exhibit are "spotted," or positioned; how Irving Berlin, who can neither learn nor write tune, grew to become certainly one of Broadway's greats. Berlin, Kern, Gershwin, Rodgers, and Porter—the musical's titanic composers—are highlighted in person profiles, as are the good administrators.

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In more ways than one, then, tify — the book is where a musical starts. 37 zM MUSIC Music is the key to musicals and yet were it strictly the music that epitomized the feel of musicals, we could sit at a piano, play a show's songs, and get the kick we get at the theater. It is a score as it is performed that characterizes our musical theater. In tracing the music's journey from its composer's piano to the stage, perhaps we can understand the process, if not the magic, by which a show sparks to life.

Porter was a master of such purposeful rhyming, using it elsewhere to underline his dramatic rhythms ("Do do that voodoo that you do so well"). But he also knew when to be simple: So good-bye, dear, and amen. Here's hoping we meet now and then. It was great fun, But it was just one of those things. (Jubilee) That's the Porter we're crazy about. Porter's work, with its meeting of thirties' sophistication, literacy (it was in style then), and technical mastery, was emulated by a generation of lyricists.

Their combined efforts create the musical theater's music, with its blessedly exhilarating effect. The composer, who sets this elaborate process in motion as he writes the tunes at his piano, might well have imagined at the outset a full-fledged 48 Broadway musical dancing on his keyboard. Overleaf: Leonard Bernstein, composer of West Side Story, drills women's singing chorus and co-star Carol Lawrence (leaning on the piano) accompanied by twenty-seven-year-old Stephen Sondheim. -) mm v **fV ^ I' i_ycics Weary of repeated references to "Ol' Man River" being Jerome Kern's song, the wife of Oscar Hammerstein II finally said that Kern hadn't written "Ol' Man River" at all.

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