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Porgy and Bess
Is this an opera or a musical? That is the ongoing controversy surrounding Porgy and Bess. The 1935 musical, with a book by DuBose Heyward, music by George Gershwin, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin, is still considered one of the most acclaimed musicals on Broadway and a significant turning point in the telling of the African American story through musical theater. The narrative of a disabled guy living in Charleston’s slums who falls in love with a gorgeous drug-addicted woman has remained popular to this day, and it was revived a few seasons ago.
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein originally collaborated on a musical adaptation of Lynn Riggs’s play Green Grow the Lilacs in 1943. The end creation, named Oklahoma!, would establish the blueprint for musical theater for decades to come. On the surface, the drama, which takes place in pioneer territory soon to become a U.S. state, appears to be a straightforward tale of a girl caught in the middle of a love triangle between a boastful cowboy and an emotionally unstable farmhand. Also, you must try to play this Which Broadway Musical Do You Belong In quiz.
Which Broadway Musical Do You Belong In?
However, in its implementation, the musical became the first to fully integrate plot, character development, music, lyrics, and dance, all of which played an equal role in driving the story along. The choreography by Agnes de Mille, whose dream ballets used dance to examine individuals’ psychologies, was particularly noteworthy.
The Rainbow of Finian
Finian’s Rainbow, a 1947 musical, is notable for several reasons. The book by E.Y Harburg and Fred Saidy addresses issues that were controversial at the time, such as whites and African Americans cohabiting, as well as the prejudice, socialism, and political corruption. More importantly, Finian’s Rainbow is the first Broadway musical to have a racially integrated ensemble, with blacks and whites singing and dancing to the Burton Lane and Harburg tune.
Kate, kiss me
In terms of the growth of musical theater as an art form, 1948’s Kiss Me, Kate is hardly groundbreaking. It is, however, a wonderfully structured, complicated musical comedy, a spectacular show-within-a-show in which one story illuminates the next. The brilliant text (derived from William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew) was written by Sam and Bella Spewack, and the scintillating soundtrack was composed by Cole Porter. Kiss Me, Kate marked a significant milestone in the evolution of Broadway’s tale because it was the first to win the Tony Award for Best Musical.
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The musical West Side Story
If Agnes de Mille’s efforts in Oklahoma!, Carousel, and Brigadoon stretched the bounds of musical theater storytelling through dance, it was Jerome Robbins who brought the medium to its zenith with the 1957 musical West Side Story. Using movement to express the tension between opposing street gangs as well as a growing relationship between a girl from one side and a boy from the other, Robbins elevated dance to the forefront, elevating it to the same level as the text and score in how musical theater stories are told.
The Musical Fiddler on the Roof
When Jerry Bock (music), Sheldon Harnick (lyrics), and Joseph Stein (book) transformed Sholem Aleichem’s story Tevye and His Daughters into the pioneering Fiddler on the Roof in 1964, they created a musical theater classic. To date, musicals have primarily shown Christian Americans, with some Jewish elements thrown in for good measure. Fiddler on the Roof, on the other hand, was a touching, hilarious, sincere, and ultimately heartbreaking narrative of a community of Jewish families whose lives were about to change dramatically. It was also the first musical to have over 3,000 performances.