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					The Jazz Age
 1920-1929
  “I Want To Be Happy”
    Kenrick, Chapter 9
              Ziegfeld scandal
In September 1920, Olive Thomas was found dead in a Paris Hotel
Room at age 26. She had been a mistress to Florenz Ziegfeld. Twelve
days later, Follies girl Anna Daly committed suicide.


Ziegfeld withdrew
from the public
eye to mend his
marriage to Billie
Burke.

 Scandals filled the
newspapers in the
1920s.



                                Olive Thomas
The Jazz Age
      After the war, the United States
      was an isolated world power. In
      the cities, Prohibition brought
      about a new place of entertainment,
      the speakeasy.
              A Golden Age
The 1920s were Broadway's busiest decade, with as many
as fifty new musicals opening in a single season. Record
numbers of people forked over up to $3.50 a seat.
   “. . . the 1920s as a whole saw the the form so refine and
   transform itself that, by the decade's finish, the …chorus
   line, the Bubble Dances, the nineteenth-century comedy,
   and the unmotivated star shot would be virtually extinct,
   unknown to the better writers and unpopular even with
   second raters.”
   - Ethan Mordden, Make Believe: The Broadway Musical in
   the 1920s (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997), p. 4.
In 1924, ASCAP (co-founded by Victor Herbert, George M.
Cohan, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and others) won a long
battle to give American composers creative control over
their stage scores. As unauthorized interpolations by
other composers became a thing
of the past, the musical began to
grow in surprising ways.


Several historians suggest that a
"golden age” of the American
musical began in September 1925
when four hits opened within the
space of seven days –
No, No Nanette (321 perfs) became one of the most lasting
musical comedy hits of the decade opened on September 16.

Dearest Enemy (286) by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart was a
musical comedy about a romance between a patriotic New York
girl and a British officer during the American Revolution
(September 18).


The Vagabond King (511) was an operetta by Rudolf Friml featured
matinee idol Dennis King as a common thief who squelches a
rebellion against the King of France. (September 21)

Sunny (517) starred popular actress Marilyn Miller in a new work
by Jerome Kern, Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II.
(September 22).
These shows were written by
craftsmen who took musical
theatre seriously, trying to
provide quality entertainment
and make a profit at the same
time. This approach kept the
musical theatre booming.


Among the hundreds of
musical comedies that flooded
Broadway in the early 1920s,
one new female star emerged
to dominate the decade.
 An age of “Cinderella” stories
IRENE (1919)   The first hit of postwar America was a rag to
               riches story about a Manhattan shop girl who
               becomes a high-fashion model and wins the
               hand of a handsome man. Starring Edith Day.

               Score by Harry Tierney
               Lyrics by Joseph McCarthy




               Featured the ballad “Alice Blue Gown”
George M. Cohan’s THE HOUSE
THAT JACK BUILT became MARY
in 192o. This Louis Hirsch, Otto
Harbach and Frank Mandel musical
starred Janet Velie and Jack
McGowan. The show introduced
the popular song
 “Love Nest”
Sally and Marilyn Miller
       When producer Florenz Ziegfeld decided to build
       a hit, he spared no expense, especially when
       showcasing his favorite star (and sometime
       mistress) Marilyn Miller. A so-so singer adept at
       both ballet and tap, Miller's enchanting dancing
       persona made her Broadway's top female
       musical star of the 1920s.

       Her first and longest running success was Sally
       (1920), the story of a poor dishwasher who rises
       to fame as a ballerina. Ziegfeld commissioned a
       score by Jerome Kern (including "Look for the
       Silver Lining"), plus a Victor Herbert ballet for
       good measure.
                             Sunny (1925) starred Miller as a circus
                             bareback rider who loves and (eventually)
                             marries a millionaire. The score, which
                             included the hit "Who?," was the first of
                             several collaborations between Jerome
                             Kern and the lyric writing team of Oscar
                             Hammerstein II and Otto Harbach. A 1926
                             London version starring Binnie Hale and
                             Jack Buchanan ran for 363 performances,
                             reinforcing Kern's position as the first
                             American composer whose shows found
                             equal acceptance in Britain and the USA.




Miller is immortalized on the side
of a building on W. 46th Street in
Times Square.
                      Rosalie
Rosalie (1928) had Miller
playing a European princess
who loves a dashing West Point
flyer. Her royal father (played
by Frank Morgan) finally
abdicates so his beloved
daughter can marry a
commoner. The operetta-style
score featured melodies by
Sigmund Romberg and George
Gershwin, including the
Gershwin hit "How Long Has
This Been Going On?"
  The Shuberts produced
Sally, Irene and Mary (1922)




               It became a motion picture in 1925.
   Irving Berlin’s Music Box
     Revue opened in 1921
Produced by Sam Harris, it was staged in their new
theatre on West 45th Street. His office is preserved
in the theatre
today. The
series ran from
1921-24.
“What’ll I Do”
was introduced
in the Music Box
Revue of 1923
by Grace Moore.
“All Alone” was
written for the
1924 edition.
Cole Porter (1891-1964)
            Composer-lyricist Cole Porter
            inherited a fortune, so he had little
            financial incentive to pursue a
            theatrical career. His remarkable
            talents won attention at both
            Harvard and Yale. After the failure
            of Porter's first musical -- See
            America First (1916) -- he set
            composing aside and lived the high
            life in Europe for several years.

            Things changed in the 1920s when
            he placed his career in the hands of
            agent Louis Schurr. Porter was soon
            working on a succession of
            worthwhile projects.
 Porter married Linda Lee
Thomas, a wealthy heiress
The modest success of Paris
(1928) with its daring song hit
"Let's Do It," led to to the
delightful musical comedy Fifty
Million Frenchmen (1929),
featuring such provocative
songs as "You've Got That
Thing" and "You Do Something
to Me." Porter's melodies
ranged from bright to sensual,
and his witty lyrics featured
witty rhymes and daring sexual
innuendo. The first Broadway
lyricist to discuss sex openly in
his songs, Porter would rise to
greater fame in the 1930s.
Rodgers and Hart




          1895-1943



                      1902-1979
The Garrick Gaeities (1925) made the
team the hottest team on Broadway.
They had been writing together
for about a decade, but The
Garrick Gaieties put them on the
map and the bubbly
"Manhattan" became a
tremendous pop hit. Rodgers
and Hart worked with librettist
Herb Fields on several minor
successes, many of which were
produced by Herb's father,
theatrical great Lew Fields.
Dearest Enemy (1925)
        Rodgers, Hart and Fields had been
        working on a book musical based on
        an actual incident that took place
        during the American Revolution.
        General George Washington asked a
        New York housewife to entertain a
        group of British commanders "by
        every means" – allowing the
        embattled American army time to
        make a strategic retreat from
        Manhattan. Filled with gentle sexual
        innuendo, this project was rejected
        by producers until the success of the
        Gaieties. Dearest Enemy (1925)
        received a lavish production, and
        made it clear that this new creative
        team was not just a flash in the pan.
Follow-up hits (1926)
A Connecticut Yankee (1928)
The score included "My Heart Stood Still" and the scintillating
"Thou Swell." William Gaxton won acclaim in the central role,
beginning his long reign as Broadway's most popular musical
comedy leading man.

Rodgers and Hart's early shows were lighthearted romps, but
some of their songs had surprising, bittersweet undertones. No
lyricist ever eclipsed Larry Hart's gift for capturing the
heartbreak of hopeless love. Since romantic frustration plagued
his private life, this was not altogether surprising.

As the stock market crash of 1929 led to tough times on
Broadway, Rodgers and Hart suffered a series of frustrating
near hits and outright flops. When Paramount Pictures offered
them a generous contract to create screen musicals, they took
their talents out West. They would return to Broadway in the
mid-1930s to create a string of outstanding musical comedies.
      Present Arms (1928)




Busby Berkeley
Andre Charlot (1882-1956)
Pairs-born Andre Charlot was one of the most prolific
WEST END producers of the 20th century…with over 45
credits, the Cameron Mackintosh of his day. Came to
fame with several intimate revues in the 1920s…among
his “discoveries” were Beatrice Lillie, Gertrude Lawrence
and Noel Coward.
Noel Coward (1899-1973)
Among those providing the songs for Charlot's revues was
Noel Coward, who's talents as an actor, playwright,
composer and lyricist would make him the brightest light in
the British theatre. Along with his work on the Charlot
revues, Noel co-starred with Bea Lillie in the Broadway
staging of This Year of Grace (1928). Produced by the
“English Ziegfeld,” Charles B. Cochran, it was the first
revue with songs and skits exclusively by Coward, who up
till then was primarily known as an actor and aspiring
playwright.

The "world weary" Coward surprised everyone with his
next musical, the sentimental operetta Bitter Sweet (1929).
The plot concerned a British heiress who gives up wealth
and family to marry a poor Viennese composer. After her
beloved is killed in a duel, she goes on to operatic fame,
and years later encourages a young girl to choose love over
everything else. "I'll See You Again" and "If Love Were All"
became two of Coward's greatest hits. The only British
book musical imported to Broadway in the 1920s, its
opening coincided with a disastrous stock market crash.
Despite good reviews, Flo Ziegfeld could not keep it
running for more than 159 performances.
Most of the British musical
comedies of the 1920s have
faded into obscurity. One
exception is Mr. Cinders (1929),
a lighthearted reversed gender
version of the Cinderella tale.
London audiences cheered
when Binnie Hale sang "Spread
a Little Happiness," which
became a popular British
anthem of hope during the
Depression-racked 1930s.
Although this was the greatest
hit in the long career of
composer Vivian Ellis, it was
considered "too British" for
American audiences and was
never professionally staged in
New York.
George and Ira Gershwin
George’s early credits…
La, La Lucille (1919) – bad luck, coincided with Actor’s
strike.

Swanee (1919) for Al Jolson

Songs for George White’s Scandals (1920-1924)

Rhapsody in Blue (1924) for
bandleader Paul Whiteman
Lady, Be Good (1924)
First Gershwin show
with Ira as lyricist. The score
was filled with jazz numbers
including “Fascinating
Rhythm.”



It was a vehicle for Fred
and Adele Astaire, then a
brother-sister act.
Oh, Kay! (1926)   The comedy about a
                  millionaire who doesn't
                  realize that Prohibition rum
                  runners are using his Long
                  Island mansion as a smuggling
                  station. It featured Gertrude
                  Lawrence singing "Someone
                  To Watch Over Me" and the
                  catchy "Do, Do, Do” and co-
                  starred Victor Moore.
FUNNY FACE featured Adele
Astaire as a girl trying to get back
her diary from her guardian
(Fred), opening the way for a
series of mishaps. The score
included "S'Wonderful," "My One
And Only," and the title tune.
Opening in 1927, it played 263
performances. It was the
opening produciton in the Alvin
Theatre (now the Neil Simon) one
of the most famous musical
houses on Broadway.

In 1983, it was revived as a vehicle
for Twiggy and Tommy Tune as
MY ONE AND ONLY.
No, No Nanette (1925)
                                             Harry Frazee sold BABE RUTH to
                                             the New York Yankees to help
                                             raise funds to finance NO, NO
                                             NANETTE in 1925.

                                              When its first pre-Broadway tour
                                              stumbled in 1924, the producers
                                              brought in new stars, a new
                                              script and new songs -- in
                                              essence, creating a new show.

Composer Vincent Youmans and lyricists Irving Caesar and Otto Harbach offered
a hit-drenched score that included "Tea for Two" and "I Want to Be Happy." The
lighthearted coming of age plot centered on a fun-loving Manhattan heiress who
gives her fiancé the cold shoulder and runs off to (gasp!) Atlantic City for a
weekend. Nanette was such a hit in Chicago that it remained there for more than
a year. By the time Broadway saw the show, a successful London production was
already running. After three mediocre screen adaptations, Nanette began to
fade into obscurity. Then in 1971, a nostalgic Broadway revival revamped the
book, left most of the score intact and electrified audiences with several
sensational dance sequences. In this version, it has become the most frequently
performed musical comedy of the 1920s.
        DeSylva, Henderson & Brown
DeSylva, B.G. "Buddy” (b. George DeSylva) Producer, lyricist and librettist
b. Jan. 27, 1895 (New York City) - d. July 11, 1950 (NYC)
Henderson, Ray (b. Raymond Brost) Composer
b. Dec. 16, 1896 (Buffalo, NY) - d. Dec. 31, 1970 (Greenwich, CT)
Brown, Lew (b. Louis Brownstein) Lyricist
b. Dec. 10, 1893 (Odessa, Russia) - d. Feb. 5, 1958 (NYC)

The new team of DeSylva, Henderson and Brown contributed "It All Depends on You" to
Jolson's Broadway hit Big Boy (1926), then turned out full scores for the 1925 and 1926 editions
of George White's Scandals, including "The Birth of the Blues" and "Lucky Day." The trio enjoyed
their greatest Broadway success with Good News (1927), a college football musical that included
"The Best Things in Life Are Free" and "The Varsity Drag." With ten more Broadway scores, their
hit songs include "You're The Cream in My Coffee" for Hold Everything (1928) and "Button Up
Your Overcoat" for Flying High (1930).

In 1931, the trio ended their collaboration. On their own, Brown and Henderson wrote "Life is
Just a Bowl of Cherries" for the 1931 Scandals. Brown acted as lyricist, librettist, director and
producer on his last three Broadway shows – Strike Me Pink (1933), Calling All Stars (1934) and
Yokel Boy (1939). Henderson retired after composing songs for the Shubert-produced 1943
edition of the Ziegfeld Follies. From 1931 on, DeSylva worked solo as a stage and screen
producer. His most memorable film was Birth of the Blues (1941), and his Broadway productions
included the Cole Porter hits DuBarry Was a Lady (1939) and Panama Hattie (1940) – for both of
which DeSylva also served as co-librettist. DeSylva was one of the founders of Capitol Records.
Good News (1927)
        Good News was not the first musical
        comedy about college life, but it was
        such a hit that it became the definitive
        example of this lighthearted sub-genre.
        The plot about a wealthy football hero
        who has to pass an exam so he can play
        in the big game and win the
        impoverished girl he loves inspired a
        slew of imitations on stage and screen,
        but none could match the infectious
        score composed by Ray Henderson
        with lyrics by Buddy DeSylva and Lew
        Brown. Their dance-happy songs
        included "The Best Things in Life Are
        Free," "Lucky in Love" and "The Varsity
        Drag," a Charleston-style number that
        became an international dance craze.
The Varsity Drag
Ziegfeld staged vehicles for
Eddie Cantor
Black Musicals
        Ziegfeld star Bert Williams died in
        1922 at age 48, his death shocked
        his colleagues and fans. But, by the
        time he died, he had paved the way
        for many new Black stars.
         Shuffle Along (1921)




Noble and Sissle
One of the least remembered Broadway musicals
of the 1920s was one of the longest running, and
most culturally significant. Shuffle Along (1921 -
504) was the first major production in more than a
decade to be produced, written and performed
entirely by African Americans. After a brief tour, it
opened at the 63rd Street Music Hall, well North
of the main theatre district. There was a slip of a
plot involving a mayoral race in "Jim Town," but it
was essentially a revue showcasing songs by
Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake.

With the popular "Love Will Find a Way" and "I'm
Just Wild About Harry," Shuffle Along became
such a hit that the police converted 63rd Street
into a one-way thoroughfare to ease the curtain
time traffic jams. The show gave several stellar
talents their first major breaks, including
Josephine Baker, Adelaide Hall and Paul Robeson.
Runnin’ Wild (1923)




         Introduced a dance craze and featured
         the singer Elisabeth Welch.
   THE CHARLESTON became the
definitive dance craze of the decade.
Beginning in 1926, producer Lew Leslie put together a
series of Blackbirds revues featuring all-black casts
performing material for mostly white audiences.
Leslie's series reached its peak with
Blackbirds of 1928 (518 perfs). This
production opened at the Liberty
Theater, in the very heart of the
theater district, with an all-black
cast and an all-white creative team.
The score by composer Jimmy
McHugh and lyricist Dorothy Fields
included the hit songs "I Can't Give
You Anything But Love," and "Doin'
the New Low Down." Although the
material tried to move beyond
minstrel show stereotypes, they
were not completely absent. Some
of the cast still wore burnt. Racial
enlightenment was still more
dream than reality in 1928.
Several important stars came out of
the Blackbird revues.          Bill “Bojangles”
                                     Robinson (1878-
                                     1949).




 Ethel Waters (1896-1977).
        American Operetta
Although jazz was the new rage, American audiences did not
lose their appetite for romance and operetta. Two composers
stand out from the period…




Sigmund Romberg (1877-1951) and Rudolf Friml (1879-1972).
Hungarian-born Sigmund Romberg
contributed to more than fifty
Broadway scores as staff composer for
the Shubert Brothers, including
numerous revues and several Al Jolson
vehicles. However, Romberg knew his
talents deserved a more ambitious
showcase, and on several occasions he
argued his way into creating the most
successful operettas the Shuberts ever
produced –

The Blue Paradise (1915 - 356) was set in
a Viennese cafe, where a man learns it
is impossible to recapture a long lost
love. The sentimental waltz "Auf
Wiedersehen" became Romberg's first
hit, and made a star of 18 year old
soprano Vivienne Segal.
    Other Romberg credits
 Maytime (1917) told of two frustrated lovers who's
grandchildren wind up falling for each other. It
became America's top World War I stage hit. At one
point, the Shuberts had two companies of Maytime
running simultaneously on Broadway to meet the
demand for tickets.

Blossom Time (1921) was a fictitious love story
involving the great composer Franz Schubert.

The Student Prince in Heidelberg (1924) tells of
Prince Karl Franz, who must choose between royal
duty and his collegiate love for a tavern waitress.
Dorothy Donnelly provided the sophisticated book
and lyrics. "Golden Days," "Deep In My Heart Dear,"
and "Serenade" became hits, and the rousing
"Drinking Song" became a particular favorite with
Prohibition-era audiences.
In the mid-1920s, Romberg broke free of the Shuberts,
composing two hits that became international favorites.

                              The Desert Song (1926 - 432) centered
                              on a masked freedom fighter called
                              "The Red Shadow," played by Scottish
                              baritone Richard Halliday. He battles
                              the French Foreign Legion while
                              having a Rudolf Valentino-style desert
                              romance with a French beauty played
                              by Vivienne Segal.

                              The score, with lyrics by Oscar
                              Hammerstein II, featured "One Alone"
                              and the popular title song. ("Blue
                              heaven, and you and I, and sand
                              kissing a moonlit sky . . .")
             The New Moon
The New Moon (1928 ) was the
semi-fictional story of Robert
Mission (portrayed by Richard
Halliday), a French nobleman
with pro-revolutionary
sentiments in colonial New
Orleans. With book and lyrics
by Hammerstein, it featured
swordfights, a costume ball,
tropical moonlight, and the hit
songs "Wanting You," "Lover
Come Back to Me" and
"Stouthearted Men."
Rudolf Friml
               Beginning in 1912, Czech native
               Rudolph Friml composed twenty
               Broadway operettas. His best scores
               were fresh and inventive enough to
               make the wildest romantic plots
               believable. Baritone Dennis King
               became a top matinee idol starring in
               three of Friml's biggest 1920s hits –

               Rose Marie (1924 - 557) was the story
               of a girl who must get the Canadian
               Mounties to clear the name of the
               man she loves. The score features
               "The Mounties" and "Indian Love Call"
               ("When I'm calling you-oo-oo-oo...),
               which was introduced by King and co-
               star Mary Ellis.
The Vagabond King (1925)
…featured Dennis King
as Francois Villon, a
poetic thief who leads the
street people of Paris in
the rousing "Song of the
Vagabonds," proclaiming
allegiance to the
besieged Louis XV "and to
hell with Burgundy!" King
also introduced the hit
ballad "Only a Rose.”
 Three Musketeers (1928)
The Three Musketeers (1928 -
319) brought the classic Dumas
novel to musical life with
flashing swords and ringing
high notes in a lavish Ziegfeld
production. King starred as
D'Artagnan, singing the "March
of the Musketeers."

Friml continued composing into
the 1940s, when many
dismissed his work as out of
date. But his best songs are still
enjoyed by anyone who has a
weakness for melody and
romance.
        The Marx Brothers
In 1924, The Shuberts booked I’LL SAY
SHE IS into the Casino Theatre.
Although the show is not
remembered, it did introduce the
Marx Brothers to New York
audiences.

Groucho (Julius) 1890-1977

Adolph (Harpo) 1888-1964

Chico (Leonard) 1886-1961

Zeppo (Herbert) 1901-1979
      The Cocoanuts (1925)




Produced by Sam Harris, THE COCOANUTS
featured a book by George S. Kaufman and
music and lyrics by Irving Berlin.
     Animal Crackers (1928)
Again, Kaufman wrote the book
with co-librettist Morrie Ryskind.
Margaret Dumont (1889-1905)
served as the female foil to
Groucho, as she had in THE
COCOANUTS and the score was by
Tin Pan Alley favorites Bert Kalmar
and Harry Ruby. It featured the
“Hooray for Captain Spaulding”
which became Groucho’s theme
song.

The comic success of the two stage
shows led to a long and successful
career for the brothers in
Hollywood. Both COCOANUTS and
ANIMAL CRACKERS were filmed
almost exactly as they were
performed onstage.
         Threepenny Opera
Brecht & Weill's The Threepenny
Opera, with its tale of the
murderous thief Macheath thriving
in a corrupt society, became an
international sensation. Premiering
in Berlin in 1928, it was acclaimed all
across Europe before receiving
unsuccessful productions in London
and New York in the 1930’s. The
score included "The Ballad of Mack
the Knife," which described a series
of gory crimes set to an infectious
melody.
Caspar Neher set design
Original German production
1936 French revival
Mack the Knife from original
German production.
         The crash of 1929
“Bad timing can sabotage
even the most well-
intentioned revolution. On
Thursday, October 24, 1929,
stock prices on Wall Street
took an alarming plunge.”
The innovations of SHOW
BOAT would be delayed
while the US economy
recovered…
                 Kenrick, 206

				
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