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Musical Theatre in NYC (and Beyond): c. 1950-c. 1960

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Rick Gomez

on 22 March 2017

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Transcript of Musical Theatre in NYC (and Beyond): c. 1950-c. 1960

Musical Theatre in NYC (and Beyond):
c. 1950-c. 1960

The Golden Age of Musical Theatre: Part 2
Television Loves Broadway in the 1950's!
(Especially in 1953!)

Off Broadway,
Off Off Broadway

Post Oklahoma Musicals
and the Role of the Director
Legends Take Their Final Bows
Irving Berlin's Last Successful Musical:
Call Me Madam
Cole Porter's Last Successful Musicals:
Can-Can (1953), Silk Stockings (1955)
Oscar Hammerstein's Last Successful Musical:
The Sound of Music (1959)
George Abbott:
Harold Prince:
Jerome Robbins:
Geographic Location of Broadway:
"The Broadway Box"
Originally, a theatre is classified as a Broadway Theatre if it was inside the rectangle between 41st and 54th Streets, and Sixth and Eighth Ave. Now, in additions to those designation, it must also have a minimum of 499 seats. Broadway Theatres are predominantly commercial (for profit) theatres.
By 1954, a theatre was considered Off-Broadway if it was outside the "Broadway Box." Later, the League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers defined Off Broadway as a professional venue in New York City with a seating capacity between 100 and 499 and which adheres union contracts.
Off Broadway
The first big Off Broadway Musical was none other than the 1954 revival of the Brecht-Weill Threepenny Opera.

A few Broadway shows that got their start Off Broadway:
Hair, Little Shop of Horrors, Spring Awakening, Next to Normal, Rent, Avenue Q, In the Heights.
An Off Off Broadway theatre generally has less than 100 seats. Most Off Broadway theatres are also non-profit.
Off Off Broadway
The Post Oklahoma Years Yields and Explosion of Great Musicals
Guys and Dolls (1950)
The King and I (1951)
Peter Pan (1954)
The Pajama Game (1954)
Damn Yankees (1955)
Bells Are Ringing (1956)
Candide (1956)
My Fair Lady (1956)
Cinderella (1957)
The Music Man (1957)
West Side Story (1957)
The Flower Drum Song (1957)
Gypsy (1959)
Fiorello (1959)
The Sound of Music (1959)
Camelot (1960)
The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1960)
Oliver (1960-West End/1962 Broadway)
A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum (1962)

Guys and Dolls (1950)
My Fair Lady (1956)
West Side Story (1957)
Camelot (1960)
List of Influential
Musicals from
this Time Period.
Mary Martin and Ethel Merman in the Ford 50th Anniversary Television Special (1953).
Mary Martin in Televised
Peter Pan:
1955, with 1956, and 1960 TV Revivals.
Colgate Comedy Hour Present
Anything Goes
Book: J.M. Barrie
Music: Jule Styne, Mark Charlap
Lyrics: Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden, Adolph Green
The biggest gamblers are in New York, and they're looking to Nathan Detroit to find a place to hold "The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York." Detroit needs to advance Joey Biltmore $1000 to hold it in his Garage, but Detroit doesn't have it. In an effort to raise the money, Detroit bets Sky Masterson $1,000 that he can't get the Sarah Brown, a mission worker, to go with him to Havana. Meanwhile, Sarah Brown, is short on sinners at her mission which will be closed unless her next prayer meeting is a success. Sky promises to provide a dozen genuine sinners for the prayer meeting, but only if Sarah will go with him to Havana. Further complicating the matter is Nathan's girlfriend, the burlesque performer, Miss Adelaide, who desperately wants Nathan to stop gambling and marry her.
Professor Henry Higgins takes a bet from Colonel Pickering: He must transform the unrefined, Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle into a lady, and furthermore, fool the upper crust of high society of it as well. He not only succeeds, but young aristocrat Freddy Eynsford-Hill falls madly in love with her. But when Higgins takes all the credit and forgets to acknowledge her efforts, Eliza angrily leaves him for Freddy, and suddenly Higgins realizes he's grown "accustomed to her face" and discovers that he can't live without her.
West Side Story is an adaptation of the classic romantic tragedy, "Romeo and Juliet". The feuding families become two warring New York City gangs- the white Jets led by Riff and the Puerto Rican Sharks, led by Bernardo. Their hatred escalates to a point where neither can coexist with any form of understanding. But when Riff's best friend (and former Jet) Tony and Bernardo's younger sister Maria meet at a dance, no one can do anything to stop their love. Maria and Tony begin meeting in secret, planning to run away. Then the Sharks and Jets plan a rumble under the highway - whoever wins gains control of the streets. Maria sends Tony to stop it, hoping it can end the violence. It goes terribly wrong: Bernardo accidentally kills Riff, and Tony then kills Bernardo.

After losing Riff, the Jets feel justified in abusing Anita, Bernardo's former girlfriend. In spite, Anita then tells Tony that Maria has been killed by one of the Sharks, Chino. Distraught, Tony roams the streets yelling for Chino to kill him too. Tony then finds that Maria is still alive; At the same moment, Chino finds Tony and kills him. He dies in Maria's arms.
The story of the marriage of England's King Arthur to Guinevere is played out amid the pagentry of Camelot. The plot of illegitimate Modred to gain the throne and Guinevere's growing attachment to Sir Lancelot, whom she at first abhors, threaten to topple Arthur and destroy his "round table" of knights who would use their might for right.
If Ever I Would
Leave You
What Do the
Simple Folk Do?
Sit Down You're
Rocking the Boat
Adelaide's Lament
Fugue For
A Boy Like That
Wouldn't It
Be Loverly
I've Grown Accustomed
To Her Face
The Rain In Spain
Directed Call Me Madam (1950),
(1959-Won Pulitzer Prize)
Once Upon A Mattress
A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum
Directed Peter Pan (1954),
The Pajama Game
West Side Story
Bob Fosse:
To clarify content.
Dispose of inessentials.
Streamline script.
Role of Post
Oklahoma Director...
Starting to Become Active...
The Best Musical
of the Golden Age?
Music: Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Book: Arthur Laurents
Music: Frederick Loewe
Lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner
Book: Alan Jay Lerner
Music: Frank Loesser
Lyrics: Frank Loesser
Book: Jo Swerling,
Abe Burrows
Music: Frederick Loewe
Lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner
Book: Alan Jay Lerner
Based on George Bernard
Shaw's Play, Pygmalion
Rex Harrison
Gets Frustrated
Full transcript