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Barry Millington

(Ger.: ‘total work of art’)

A term used by Wagner for his notion, formulated in his theoretical essays of 1849–51, of an art form that combined various media within the framework of a drama. Harking back to ancient Greek drama, he suggested that there the basic elements of dance, music and poetry had been ideally combined. Their division into separate genres had diminished their expressive force; only in the total work of art could they regain their original dignity. Similarly, the arts of architecture, sculpture and painting would recover their classical and authentic stature only as constituents of the ‘artwork of the future’.

The architect of the theatre of the future would be guided by the law of beauty and the dictates of intelligibility rather than by the demands of social distinctions. Sets would be executed by landscape painters, and the three sister arts would be reunited in the actor of the future, who would be dancer, musician and poet in one. The new work of art would be brought into being not by a single creative artist but by a fellowship of artists, in response to a communal demand. The artist of the future was thus the ...

Article

Ian Bradley

English comic-opera collaborators. The impact of the comic operas of the librettist W.S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) in the United States was immediate and lasting. H.M.S. Pinafore, the team’s second significant collaboration, established its transatlantic reputation. In the absence of international copyright agreements, a pirate production opened in Boston on 25 November 1878, exactly six months after the London first night. Within a few months Pinafore mania was sweeping the country. The opera was at one point being performed simultaneously in eight New York theaters within five blocks of each other. By the time the “authorized” version opened at the Fifth Avenue Theater in New York on 1 December 1879, more than 150 productions had played across the United States.

It was a mark of the instant and intense popularity of the first of the major Savoy operas, as Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas became known, that the next work in the canon, ...

Article

Sharon O’Connell Campbell

(b Winnipeg, MB, June 2, 1950). Canadian actress. A character actress, she has worked in film and television and on stage in both musical and non-musical theater. She made her Broadway debut playing Monica in the musical I Love My Wife (1977). Her next four performances, all recognized by awards or nominations, were for non-musical plays: The Real Thing (1984), Joe Egg (1985), and Social Security (1986) on Broadway and It’s Only a Play (1986) off-Broadway. For her portrayal of the Baker’s Wife in Sondheim’s Into the Woods (1987), Gleason received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards. She played Nora in the short-lived Nick & Nora (1991) and was nominated again for a Tony Award for Muriel in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005). Gleason’s off-Broadway stage, television, and film credits are numerous; her films include Woody Allen’s movies ...

Article

(b New York, NY, Dec 2, 1914; d New York, NY, Oct 24, 2002). American lyricist, librettist, and actor. He sustained a lifelong writing partnership with Betty Comden. Among their joint works were the musicals Wonderful Town (1953) and Bells Are Ringing (1956), and the film script ...

Article

Paula Morga

revised by Jonas Westover

(b New York, NY, May 29, 1923; d New York, NY, Dec 16, 1990). American writer on music. He attended Union College (BA 1943) and participated in the Army Special Training Program at the University of Nebraska (1944). His principal interest is the American musical theater. It was the subject of his radio program “The World of Musical Comedy” (WBAI, New York, 1961–5) and of Salute to American Musical Theater (1967), a revue that was presented both at the Waldorf Astoria in New York and at the White House. He was involved in two programs given at Lincoln Center, writing the script for “The Music of Kurt Weill” (1969) and advising on the music for “Review of Reviews” (1973). Green was a contributing editor for HiFi/Stereo Review (1957–63), wrote articles for the Saturday Review, the New York Times...

Article

Sylvia Stoner-Hawkins

(David )

(b Cleveland, OH April 11, 1932). American actor. Son of comedian and musician Mickey Katz, Grey began his performing career in nightclubs in Cleveland in 1951. Realizing that playing the Copacobana would not help him to pursue a serious acting career, Grey quit the clubs and began to work in regional theater. He was hired to replace Anthony Newley as Littlechap in Stop the World—I Want to Get Off (opened 1962) on Broadway. This engagement followed with another replacement part in Half a Sixpence (opened 1965). Typecast a character actor, Grey confronted various obstacles in securing starring roles. This changed when Hal Prince hired him to play the Emcee in Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret (1966). Walter Kerr of the New York Times reviewed Grey’s Emcee as “cheerful, charming, soulless, and conspiratorially wicked.” Grey creatively cloaked his tenor voice in a bright androgynous color for the nightclub numbers. As the Emcee he danced with seductive charm. Grey received the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and later earned an Oscar for the film version (...

Article

G. J. Cederquist

(b Rockford, IL, 1960). American stage director. Having begun college as a journalism major, Griffin changed fields to study theater at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (BA 1982). He continued to study at Illinois State University where he received his Master of Fine Arts in Directing. After moving to Chicago in 1988 his directing career has focused on musical theater, a field in which he has won eight Joseph Jefferson Awards. His aesthetic tends towards the paring down of the large-scale musical and providing such works a more intimate and chamber piece quality.

Griffin is a renowned interpreter of Stephen Sondheim’s works, including productions of Saturday Night (a world premiere), Passion, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Pacific Overtures (a unique all-male production which later transferred to the Donmar Warehouse [London] and won an Olivier Award), and Follies. Each of these productions originated at Chicago Shakespeare Theater where Griffin is associate artistic director. Previously he was the artistic director of the Drury Lane Oakbrook. He made his Broadway debut in ...

Article

Scott Warfield

(b New York, NY, Dec 16, 1964). American composer, lyricist, and orchestrator. The son and grandson, respectively, of Broadway composers mary Rodgers and richard Rodgers , Guettel first sang professionally as a boy soloist with the New York Metropolitan Opera and other companies. He was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and Yale University, from which he graduated in 1987. Early in his adult career, Guettel assisted conductor John Mauceri in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance, composed music for the off-Broadway show Love and Anger, and also performed as a bassist and singer. His first compositions include songs, symphonic works, and an unperformed one-act opera.

Guettel’s initial success was the off-Broadway production Floyd Collins, which won him and book author Tina Landau the 1996 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. The show also earned Guettel and his orchestrator Bruce Coughlin that year’s Obie Award for Music. It is based on the ...

Article

Sylvia Stoner-Hawkins

[John Joseph, Jr. ]

(b Boston, MA, Aug 10, 1898; d Los Angeles, CA, June 6, 1979). American actor and performer. Haley initially became an electrician in the Boston area. However, he soon left that career to pursue vaudeville and toured in the team Krafts and Haley. He began his Broadway career in the 1924 original musical revue Round the Town. In 1929 Haley starred as Jack Martin in the musical comedy Follow Thru with lyrics by DeSylva and Brown and music by Henderson. He and his costar, Zelma O’Neal, performed the hit number “Button up your Overcoat.” Haley was later cast in the 1932 musical comedy Take a Chance by DeSylva and Schwab. In the 1948 musical revue Inside USA, Haley’s character displayed effective physical comedy while portraying a weary traveler booked in a room with a trick bed. Haley served as the radio host of Wonder Show (1938–9), a show sponsored by Wonder Bread, which featured Gale Gordon as the announcer and regular appearances by Lucille Ball. Haley replaced Buddy Ebsen as the Tin Man in the film ...

Article

Gerald Bordman

revised by Jonas Westover

(Abels )

(b Salt Lake City, UT, Aug 18, 1873; d New York, NY, Jan 24, 1963). American librettist and lyricist. He was educated at Knox College, then taught English for six years at Whitman College before going to New York for further study at Columbia University. In 1902 he became a newspaper journalist and the following year a copywriter for an advertising agency. His friendship with the composer Karl Hoschna led him to try his hand at writing musicals, and their collaboration Three Twins (1908, including the song “Cuddle Up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine”) was a great success. Harbach soon became a prolific writer; he produced over 40 works for Broadway and also wrote occasionally for films. After Hoschna’s death in 1911 he entered into a successful partnership with Rudolf Friml. Many of his best lyrics and librettos, however, were written after 1920 in collaboration with his younger protégé Oscar Hammerstein II. Among his best-known songs are “Rose-Marie” and “Indian Love Call” (...

Article

Jessica Hillman

(b Chicago, IL, April 30, 1924). American lyricist. After serving in the Army, he attended Northwestern University, where he studied violin and received a Bachelor of Music degree. His first song on Broadway, for which he wrote both the music and the lyrics, appeared in New Faces of 1952. After teaming with composer Jerry Bock on The Body Beautiful (1958), Harnick concentrated on lyrics only for a string of highly successful Broadway musicals featuring Bock’s tuneful music and Harnick’s character-driven lyrics. The pair gained acclaim when Fiorello (1959), about the charismatic titular mayor of New York, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Their most acclaimed collaboration, Fiddler on the Roof (1964), often considered the last of the “Golden Age” musicals, for a time became the longest running musical on Broadway before it closed in 1972. Other works include Tenderloin (1960), ...

Article

Gerald Bordman

revised by Jonas Westover

(b New York, NY, Oct 24, 1904; d Palm Springs, CA, Dec 20, 1961). American librettist and director. As a young man he worked as an office boy for theatrical producer Augustus Pitou and started to write plays in the early 1920s. His first musical, Jonica (1930, written in collaboration with Dorothy Heyward), was a failure, but he made an impact with Once in a Lifetime (1930). His next offerings, Face the Music (1932, music by Irving Berlin) and a revue, As Thousands Cheer (1933, Berlin), won great acclaim. He is perhaps best known for the comedies he wrote in collaboration with george s. Kaufman , but the two also produced librettos for musicals, including I’d rather be right (1937, music by Richard Rodgers). Other major Broadway shows were The Great Waltz (1934, music by J. Strauss), Jubilee (1935, lyrics and music by Cole Porter), and ...

Article

Sylvia Stoner-Hawkins

(b St. Louis, MO, June 18, 1934). American actor and singer. He began his career in New York in 1963 with Shakespeare in the Park and subsequently has performed in more than 185 plays and about 20 musicals. He first appeared on Broadway as Ianto Morgan in A Time for Singing by John Morris (1966). He also played the role of John Dickinson in Sherman Edwards’s 1776 (1971) and replaced Len Cariou in the title role of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (1979). He originated the role of Papa in I Remember Mama (1979), with music by Richard Rodgers. For his portrayal of Albin in La Cage aux Folles (Jerry Herman, 1983) he earned a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Albin’s character introduced the anthem “I Am What I Am,” which made a powerful statement about homosexual tolerance that coincided with the recognition of AIDS in America. In ...

Article

Jonas Westover

(b New York, NY, Nov 28, 1887; d New York, NY, May 13, 1924). American composer. He was a highly regarded composer of Broadway musicals—especially revues—at the turn of the 20 century. He attended the City University of New York and studied piano at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin during his final year. After his return to New York in 1906, Hirsch found employment as a pianist for several music publishers. He composed original music for Lew Dockstader’s Minstrels but soon had songs interpolated into several shows produced by the Shuberts, including The Gay White Way (1907) and Up and Down Broadway (1910). This relationship was essential to Hirsch’s career, for the Shuberts eventually hired him as a staff composer. He wrote his first full score for them, He Came from Milwaukee, in 1910. The following year, several of his songs were included in ...

Article

Sharon O’Connell Campbell

(b New York, NY, April 29, 1917; d New York, NY, July 15, 2012). American actress and singer. Her stage, film, and television acting career exceeded 50 years and embraced a wide variety of characters and genres. Holm began her Broadway musical career in Gloriana (1938), then worked steadily in non-musical plays until originating Ado Annie in Oklahoma! (1943). She starred in Broadway’s Bloomer Girl (1944) before signing a movie contract with 20th Century Fox in 1946. She received an Academy Award for portraying Anne Dettrey in Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) and nominations for Come to the Stable (1949) and All About Eve (1950). Movie musicals include The Tender Trap (1955), High Society (1956), and Tom Sawyer (1973); television musicals include The Yeomen of the Guard (1957) and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ...

Article

Jonas Westover

[Elizabeth Holzman ]

(b Cincinnati, OH, May 23, 1904; d Stamford, CT, June 18, 1971). American actress, singer, composer, and lyricist. Holman completed her college education before moving to New York where she began her theatrical career in 1924. Encouraged by the critic Channing Pollock, she appeared in revues, including the Garrick Gaieties (1925) and Merry-Go-Round (1927). Her most successful performance came in 1929 with The Little Show, where she introduced the song “Moanin’ Low” (by Ralph Rainger). This blues number became her signature tune, although she had another hit in Three’s a Crowd (1930) with “Body and Soul” (Heyman, Sour/Green). She appeared in other revues during the 1930s, including Revenge with Music (1934), and starred in Cole Porter’s You Never Know (1938). Holman produced her own one-woman show, Blues, Ballads, and Sin-Songs, in 1954. She took this opportunity to showcase her own compositions, including “Good Morning Blues” and “House of the Rising Sun.” Her music was deeply rooted in African American idioms, a connection she celebrated through her support of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. Holman’s performances are preserved on 25 sides recorded for Brunswick from ...

Article

Gerald Bordman

(b New York, NY, March 30, 1858; d Kansas City, MO, Sept 23, 1935). American bass and comedian. He was expected to follow his family tradition and become a lawyer, but after his father’s death he abandoned his studies and used his inheritance to form his own acting company. The company failed, partly because, being exceptionally tall, Hopper towered comically above the rest of his troupe. He then studied singing (he had a fine bass voice), and struck huge success in 1884 when John McCaull cast him in John Philip Sousa’s Désirée. He solidified his reputation in The Begum (1887) and The Lady or the Tiger? (1888). He then played leading roles in several shows opposite the diminutive Della Fox, where the disparity in their height was deliberately exploited for its comic effect; productions included Castles in the Air (1890), Wang (...

Article

Gerald Bordman

(b Concord, NH, July 26, 1860; d New York, NY, Nov 20, 1900). American librettist, lyricist, and producer. He studied law and worked on a western cattle ranch before becoming a writer for the Boston Post. He then began to write plays, achieving success with A Bunch of Keys (1883) and A Rag Baby (1884), the latter of which was produced by Tony Pastor. Both works were farce-comedies. Though in Hoyt’s hands these rather simplistically conceived shows, with their thin plots and their reliance on existing musical material, were transformed into recognizable musical comedies; he wrote full-length librettos and assigned a single composer to write a basic score (though still allowed for the traditional practice of interpolating of songs). He also preferred to write on American subjects. In collaboration with such composers as Edward Solomon, Percy Gaunt, and Richard Stahl, Hoyt produced a series of popular shows which included ...

Article

Sandra Jean Graham

Vocal duo. The group comprised soprano Anna Madah (b New York?, NY, 1855; d ?1920s) and alto/tenor Emma Louise (b Sacramento, CA, 1857; d by 1901). Born to Samuel B. and Annie E. Hyers, the musically precocious sisters soon abandoned their parents’ musical tutelage for private study with German music teacher Hugo Sank (vocalization, piano) and opera singer Josephine D’Ormy (Italian and German, enunciation, intonation, stage presence). Shortly after their debut at the ages of 12 and 10 at the Metropolitan Theatre in Sacramento, the parents separated, and their father Samuel managed their careers.

From 1867 to 1876 the sisters devoted themselves to concerts of operatic excerpts, art songs, popular ballads, and, from 1872, spirituals. Arriving in New York in 1871 after a cross-country tour, Samuel formed a concert company around his daughters, engaging tenor Wallace King, baritone John Luca, violinist John Thomas Douglass, and pianist Alexander C. Taylor. Myriad favorable reviews praised Anna’s range and suppleness, Emma’s power, and the sisters’ well-cultured refinement....

Article

Gillian M. Rodger

(Jane )

(b Columbus, OH, March 16, 1889; d Beverly Hills, CA, Feb 26, 1956). American actress, singer, songwriter, and entertainer. Her stage career began when she was just a child and was promoted tirelessly by her mother, Jennie Cockrell Bierbower, a woman whose own theatrical aspirations had been thwarted. Janis’s first roles on the stage were with the Ohio Valentine Stock Company in 1897. Her career in vaudeville lasted into the 1920s, and the format of her act varied little. She opened with a song and then moved through imitations of popular stars of the period; her imitations varied from year to year and included a wide range of celebrities including Weber and Fields, Lillian Russell, Pat Rooney, Anna Held, Ethel Barrymore, Alla Nazimova, Fanny Brice, and George M. Cohan. By the 1920s she had begun to move into musical comedy and revue.

Janis was a tireless supporter of the troops during World War I and traveled to France and England to entertain them. She found equal popularity with English and French audiences. After her mother’s death in ...