By Ethan Mordden
"Music and ladies are the soul of musical comedy," one critic wrote, early within the Nineteen Forties. yet this used to be the age that sought after greater than melody and kickline shape its musical exhibits. the shape have been working on empty for too lengthy, as a formulation for the meeting of spare parts--star comics, common love songs, rumba dancers, Ethel Merman. If Rodgers and Hammerstein hadn't existed, Broadway could have needed to invent them; and Oklahoma! and Carousel got here alongside simply in time to announce the hot formulation for Writing Musicals: Don't have a formula.
Instead, commence with robust characters and surroundings: Oklahoma!'s murderous romantic triangle set opposed to a frontier society that has to profit what democracy is so as to deserve it; or Carousel's dysfunctional kin visible within the context of sophistication and gender war.
With the energy and infrequently outrageous humor that Ethan Mordden's readers take without any consideration, the writer levels during the decade's classics--Pal Joey, woman at nighttime, in town, Annie Get Your Gun, Phinian's Rainbow, Brigadoon, Kiss Me, Kate, South Pacific. He additionally covers illuminating trivia--the undercover agent mystery the girl Comes throughout, whose celebrity bought so into her position that she suffered paranoid hallucinations and needed to be hospitalized; the smutty stick to the ladies, damned as "burlesque with a playbill" but remaining because the longest-run musical in Broadway historical past; Lute music, during which Mary Martin and Nancy Reagan have been chinese language; and the 1st "concept" musicals, Allegro and Love lifestyles. Amid the thrill, whatever progressive happens. The Nineteen Twenties created the musical and the Nineteen Thirties gave it politics. within the Forties, it stumbled on its soul.
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Extra resources for Beautiful Mornin': The Broadway Musical in the 1940s
You Can't Brush Me Off" borrows a slang catchphrase and returns a raucous love song, fond but aggressive. "It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow," very pure and diatonic in its melody and almost absurdly simple in its message, is the Berlin of the anthems, the idealistic and even epic Berlin. " All this analyzing of Berlin's qualities obscures his greatest gift—sheer all-conquering tunefulness. Berlin's most characteroriented score is that for Annie Get Your Gun and his most elaborate score that for Miss Liberty, both later in this decade.
It is worth remarking, too, that while dance music in most shows had long consisted of repetitions of whatever song had just been sung, the Big Ballet's very grandeur called for something on a higher cultural level: dramatic dance music, descriptive, narrative, featuring developments and variations of themes from the show. 's songs, putting some of them through startling changes as the dream deepens into nightmare. "Old Man's Darling" focuses on a single number—grows out of it organically. After Gaxton sings "Fools Fall in Love," a solo violin echoes the main strain, then a fraught transition produces a waltz version, for trumpet and tripping woodwinds.
People are opening her mail, murmuring passwords, kidnaping her. No, really. Incredible to report, Matthews is actually suffering a hysterical psychotic episode, and has got so deep in the dream that she has to be hospitalized. She will be very honest about it in her memoirs, thirty-two years later: I was in a dark room. Someone had dressed me in a rough shift that scrubbed against my skin. I was on a bed ... I couldn't move my hands, they felt manacled. Had the Germans caught me? I heard someone screaming .