Broadway: the American musical v. 3, with English/Chinese subtitles.Published by : PBS Video
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BROADWAY: THE AMERICAN MUSICAL is a new six-part documentary series that chronicles the Broadway musical throughout the 20th century and explores the evolution of this uniquely American art form. Episode 5: Tradition (1957-1979) Featured musicals are "A Chorus Line", "Cabaret", "Chicago","Company", "Fiddler on the Roof", "Hair", "Hello, Dolly!", ""Pacific Overtures","Sweeney Todd", "The Pajama Game", "West Side Story" West Side Story" not only brought untraditional subject matter to the musical stage, it ushered in a new breed of director/choreographer who insisted on performers who could dance, sing and act. But by the time Jerome Robbins' last original musical, "Fiddler on the Roof," closed after a record run of 3,242 performances in 1972, the world of Broadway had changed forever. Rock 'n' roll, civil rights, and the Vietnam War ushered in new talents, many trained by the retiring masters, taking musical theater in daring new directions with innovative productions like "Hair," the first Broadway musical with an entire score of rock music. The adult narrative of Stephen Sondheim's "Company" plunged the musical into a new era. Hal Prince's conceptual staging showcased John Kander and Fred Ebb's dynamic score for "Cabaret." Bob Fosse captured a sexuality and cynicism ahead of its time with "Chicago," but it was director/choreographer Michael Bennett who spearheaded the biggest blockbuster of all -- "A Chorus Line." "It totally changed the musical theater," says Shubert Organization chairman Gerald Schoenfeld. "It was a catalyst for the improvement of this area, and of course this area is now the most desirable area in New York." With Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd," the Broadway musical reached unexpected new heights in style and material with a tale of slaughter and cannibalism set in 19th-century London. By the end of the 1970s, Broadway became the centerpiece of a remarkably successful public relations campaign that would lure tourists to New York for years to come. Episode 6: Putting it together Featured Musicals are "42nd Street", "Cats", "La Cage aux Folles", "Rent", "Sunday in the Park with George", "The Lion King", "The Producers", "Wicked" Legendary as the "Abominable Showman," notorious producer David Merrick reconquered Broadway in 1980 with a smash adaptation of the movie musical "42nd Street." But soon the biggest hits were arriving from an unexpected source -- London. Producer Cameron Mackintosh redefined the business of show business as "Cats," "Les Miserables," "The Phantom of the Opera," and "Miss Saigon" became international blockbusters. Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park with George" defied categorization while Jerry Herman's crowd-pleasing "La Cage aux Folles" had two men sing a love song to each other for the first time on the stage -- a breakthrough soon overshadowed by the decimation of Broadway by AIDS. Yet with Julie Taymor's triumphant reimagining of "The Lion King," Disney led an astonishing resurrection of 42nd Street. Composer Jonathan Larson scored a bittersweet victory with the rock-flavored "Rent," and the old-style musical was reborn in Mel Brooks' "The Producers," which became the first must-see musical comedy in decades, despite a ticket price of $480 for each VIP seat. After 9/11, Broadway -- like the rest of America -- emerged from the darkness. Broadway's corporate dominance continues to grow, as evidenced by new shows such as "Wicked," the biggest hit of the 2003-04 season, with 10 Tony nods.