Broadway: The American Musical (2004) – Episode 5 “Tradition (1957-1979)” – reviewed by George

This episode seems rushed, as though the airdate caught up with the folks who write the labels for the pieces of film – because people whose faces you recognize and whose names you know are not identified at all. Even when the narration identifies someone on camera, there is still usually a sign at the bottom of the screen to tell you who they are, with a little added info like “(original Daisy)”, but not consistently in this program.
Also there are too many topics and too many clips that are very short. Anyway:

“West Side Story”: As new talent emerged they naturally used things from their own times, their own lives, like rock music and teenage gang warfare in New York. Jerome Robbins both choreographed AND directed.
“Gypsy”, “Bye Bye Birdie”, “Camelot”, “How to Succeed in  Business without Really Trying”, and “Funny Girl” are all lumped together.
As the culture changed, Broadway, which had been a major source of Hit Parade tunes, gave way to rock & roll. Louis Armstrong’s 1964 recording of “Hello Dolly” was number one on the charts for one week, following three months of a Beatles tune in that position, and was the last Broadway song to make the list.
“Cabaret”. Hal Prince directed and Kander and Ebb wrote the songs. Early in rehearsals Prince brought in a photo of young male American Nazis snarling at the camera to emphasize that what the company was doing was not dated.
“Hair”. The inspiration was the polarized state of America over the Vietnam War. The show played for four sold-out years.
“Company”. Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince – 1970. The audience was polarized by Sondheim’s take on marriage.
“Follies”. Sondheim’s latest show was codirected by Hal Prince and Michael Bennett.
In 1973 Michael Bennett started working on his own show. “A Chorus Line” was in development for 14 months, opened at the Public Theater, quickly moved to the Schubert where it played for over 15 years, breaking all existing box office records.
In 1973 Bob Fosse won the triple crown of Directors, taking home the Emmy for “Liza with a Z”, the Tony for “Pippin”, and the Oscar for “Cabaret”. He is still the only director to pull that off (unless someone has done it since 2004 when this TV show came out).

A choreographed fight from “West Side Story” on stage.
Unidentified Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert singing “Tonight” from “West Side Story”, probably on the Ed Sullivan Show.
“America” with Rita Moreno and George Chakiris from the film.
Barbra Streisand singing “People” from the film “Funny Girl”.
Carol Channing singing “Before the Parade Passes By” at the Tonys.
Zero Mostel singing “If I Were a Rich Man” at the Tonys.
The company of “Fiddler on the Roof” singing “Tradition” in what looks to me like the Tonys, but could be the stage.
Louis Armstrong singing “Hello Dolly”.
From “Cabaret” Joel Grey sings “Wilkommen” and Jill Haworth sings “Cabaret”, both on stage.
From “Hair” the company does a number.
From “Company” Elaine Stritch sings with a male chorus for the original cast recording, Beth Howland sings on stage “I’m Not Getting Married Today”, and Dean Jones and a talented female (unidentified) sing a duet in the recording studio.
“A Chorus Line”: the company sings “I Need This Job”, and the company and an unidentified soloist sing “One”.
A decently long clip from the film “My Sister Eileen” (1965) features tandem dancing by Bob Fosse and Tommy Rall.
“Chicago”: Jerry Orbach sings “All I Care About Is Love” from the stage production.

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