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December 7, 2017 – December 21, 2017 all-day
Back by popular demand and just in time for the holidays! Enjoy six musicals followed by a brief discussion led by Emily Gordon. Musicals will be shown during the month of December, featuring two musicals back to back from 6:00- 8:00 pm. Don’t forget to bring a friend or two. The musicals and lectures are FREE. All Episodes will be held at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill.
Episode One: Give My Regards to Broadway (1893 – 1927)
Thursday, December 7, 6:00-8:00 pm
New York City’s turn-of-the-century musical theater embodied the hope that America offered to millions of immigrants. The story of legendary producer Florenz Ziegfeld introduces the era’s key figures: songwriter Irving Berlin, comedienne-singer Fanny Brice and comic Bert Williams (America’s first “crossover” artists) and brash song-and-dance man George M. Cohan, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein unleash Broadway’s potential with the groundbreaking “Show Boat.”
Episode Two: Syncopated City (1919 – 1933)
Thursday, December 7, 6:00- 8:00 pm
Prohibition and Jazz, along with newly-won freedoms for women, proved to be fertile ground for musical comedy. Marilyn Miller, the Marx Brothers and Al Jolson rocketed to stardom, as songwriting teams like George and Ira Gershwin, Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, along with Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote the music that seduced the nation with New York City’s syncopated rhythm. But Broadway’s Jazz Age ultimately suffered a one-two punch with the “talking picture” and the stock market crash.
Episode Three: I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’ (1930 – 1942)
Thursday, December 14, 6:00- 8:00 pm
In the Great Depression, a musical theater dichotomy emerged. Shows like Cole-Porter’s “Anything Goes” offered glamour as an escape, while others “Of Thee I Sing” and “The Cradle Will Rock”dealt with the era’s political concerns. Rodgers and Hart returned to New York to create new shows. Stars like Ethel Merman and Ethel Waters became top box office draws and George Gershwin created his epic folk opera, “Porgy and Bess.” The advent of World War II prompted Irving Berlin to write one of his biggest hits, T”his is the Army.”
Episode Four: Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ (1943 – 1960)
Thursday, December 14, 6:00- 8:00 pm
Beginning with “Oklahoma!”in 1943,the partnership of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein set a new standard for storytelling on Broadway. With “On the Town.” Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, along with Jerome Robbins musicalized wartime New York. Irving Berlin and Ethel Merman triumphed with “Annie Get Your Gun. “Shows like “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “My Fair Lady” offered sophisticated literary adaptions, whileThe Ed Sullivan Show brought a television spotlight to Broadway. With the death of Oscar Hammerstein in 1960 after “The Sound of Music,” the curtain lowered on a golden age.
Episode Five: Tradition (1957 – 1979)
Thursday, December 21, 6:00- 8:00 pm
In the late 50’s and early 60’s, Broadway continued producing enduring hits, including the groundbreaking “West Side Story.” In the era of rock and roll and tumultuous social change, Broadway reinvented itself and established new traditions. The conceptual theater of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s “Cabaret,” as directed by Hal Prince, was followed by the tribal love-rock musical “Hair” and the urban angst of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.” Bob Fosse showcased sexy cynicism in “Chicago.”and Michael Bennett created the blockbuster “A Chorus Line.” With Prince and Sondheim’s production of “Sweeny Todd,” the musical reached unexpected heights in style and material.
Episode Six: Putting It Together (1980 – Present)
Thursday, December 21, 6:00- 8:00pm
As notorious producer David Merrick conquered Broadway with “42nd Street,”and producer Cameron Mackintosh and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber redefined Broadway, the business of show business took center-stage. Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George” moved from a workshop Off-Broadway, while Jerry Herman’s “La Cage Aux Folles” broke new ground in its portrayal of gay romance. Julie Taymor reimagined Disney’s “The Lion King,” while composer Jonathan Larson scored a bittersweet triumph with “Rent.” The old-fashioned musical was reborn in Mel Brook’s “The Producers.” The creation of “Wicked,” the biggest hit of 2004, highlights the challenges of producing on Broadway in the 21st Century.