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Sing For Your Supper
New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005
ML1711.8 .N3 M785 2005
In the 1930s, America was struggling in the midst of the Depression. Aficionados of the Broadway musical have always mainatained that this was the decade of the serious, political show, but Ethan Mordden is here to correct the record, once and for all, and show that Braodway's lights burned brightly during the 1930s in some of the most enjoyable, fun-filled and starry vehicles that ever graced The Street. Cole Porter's Anything Goes featured that one-time stenographer from Astoria, Queens, Ethel Merman. Rodgers and Hart teamed up for On Your Toes and The Boys From Syracuse. Fred and Adele Astaire charmed first-nighters in The Band Wagon. Porgy and Bess put African Americans center stage in Gershwin's operatic masterpiece. Helzapoppin tore the Majestic Theatre apart with a double helping of burlesque. Ethel Waters sent shivers down the spine in As Thousands Cheer. George M. Cohen, the quintessential Yankee Doodle Dandy, was rousing audiences nightly in I'd Rather Be Right, and Jumbo brought the circus to Broadway. Innovations in dance were pioneered by Albertina Rasch and George Balanchine, Joe Mielziner brought a bold new look to scenic design while composers like Jerome Kern and Harold Arlen filled the ear with Luscious melody at a time when orchestra pits were filled to overflowing with strings, woodwinds and harp. While shows like Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock and Kurt Weil's Knickerbocker Holiday did put politics center stage, the accent on fun was heightened by some of the greatest clowns the Broadway stage has ever known - Fanny Brice, Bert Lahr, Beatrice Lillie and Mary Boland. With his trademark wit and style, Ethan Mordden completes his series of books on the Broadway musical and brings back a forgotten Broadway decade that was a treasure chest overflowing with theatrical riches. Tonight, Ladies and Gentlemen, it's "Curtain Going Up!" on a faraway place and time.
Quoted from dust jacket.