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Broadway The American Musical Essay

At the start of the 20th century, the popular vaudeville shows that crossed the nation became the training ground and inspiration for the birth of the American musical. As the primary location for the professionalization of American performance art, understanding the complicated negotiation of gendered and racial identities on the Broadway stage provides important background to the development of an American identity in concert dance through the rest of the century. As you watch these videos notice how musicals come to represent American ideals such as abundance, opportunity, pluralism, optimism.

2.1 Give My Regards to Broadway:

2.1.1 Some of the images from the Follies look like the creation of a new Eden. It was said that in America the streets were paved with gold. Describe the ‘abundance’ found in Ziegfeld Follies and how this relates to an image of America.

It reflects to how women being described pure like gold. In the show, all the women wear gold that describes valuable objects. Ziegfeld understands of how he could sell “sex” idea (by women) to the audience.

2.1.2 What were the Follies and how did they include the different ethnic minorities present in America.

The include other cultures in the show by telling jokes to the audience. There were several culture mentioned in the jokes, such as Irish jokes, Italian jokes, and Jewish jokes. 2.1.3 A Follies ‘girl’ had to have a ‘regular profile’, and most were six feet tall. If a Follies girl is the ideal American girl, who is excluded from the image of ideal America? Mostly others race, such as Asian, Black, or any other race besides Causasion. 2.1.4 Many immigrants left the Old World because the social structures of the time kept them locked in a certain economic class. America held the promise of changing one’s station in life. It was the land of opportunity.

How was the opportunity and variety found in Vaudeville representative of this idea of America?

Vaudeville is the era when anyone can perfome anything featuring dancing, comedies, and singing that focus on individual performance. It represents the idea of America because it displays of mixed cultures in America. It defines a picture of culture variety in America, which unites America.

2.1.5 Describe the clip from Yankee Doodle Dandy. How is Cagney, playing Cohan, the ideal American? Look at who else is on stage, who is or is not allowed to be in this image of America? Cagney represents a picture of American pictures, such as white man and high class image (nice suit). Based on the video, all of the people on stage are Causasion, which excludes other culture.
2.1.6 How does the musical ‘Mythologize’ America?
1.2.3=Lesson 1.Resource 2. Question 3

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Mostly represent majority race (mostly represent Causasion), displays perfect picture of American girl (pure, pretty, perfect picture), and represents great music and dance. 2.1.7 How did Burt Williams both perpetuate and challenge stereotypes of black Americans? What does it mean for a black man to perform in black face?

Burt William represents a picture of black Americans at that time by telling the audience jokes that related about black Americans. However, besides his jokes he also put other images like the pain being a black American indirectly by his jokes or by his song. Perform in black face was the only way for him to perform in enternainment industry. 2.1.8 Burt Williams claims that he would like to do both the ‘pathos’ (drama) and the fun, but he is known for comedy and if he did the pathos, he would no longer be Burt Williams. Is Burt Williams, then, an actual man, or just a character?

Burt Williams at that times represents as a character only because he hides himself and only performs the arts by telling audience jokes. He understands that his job is to entertain the audience.
2.1.9 Form/technique: Describe blackface performance through its origins, its popularity and performances by Burt Williams and Al Jolson. Using blackface for black performers and white performers, mostly contains comedy, and stereotyping of black cultures (make fun of black Americans) 2.1.10 How did Fanny Brice break the expected image of the Ziegfeld girl? She breaks all the images of American standard of beauty such as being physically pretty. She represents a comedy story by using facial gestures and eyes movevents. 2.1.11 How did World War I change Broadway?

It changed the characteristic of broadway, from blackface to Tin Pan Alley era where most of all the musicians and artists produce their idea in the one building and presents it after. 2.1.12 Show Boat was a marriage of what two traditions?

European operetta and American musical comedy.
2.1.13 Why was Show Boat so influential? In terms of subject matter? In terms of who was included on stage?
Show Boat represent producer’s idea of musics, which represents American music. 2.1.14 Based on what you have seen, how was Broadway ‘uniquely American’? It represented musical theme and comedy which was entertaining to audience. It also displayed of mixed cultural background to represent the arts on the stage, such as black American culture , Causasion culture (mostly European), and Jewish.

2.2 Syncopated City
“In the ‘20s everyone had permission to visit each other’s land and see what they were doing.”
2.2.1 Alcohol was outlawed during Prohibition, but was not strictly enforced in NY. This meant that people of all social classes were breaking the law and thus normal rules about 1.2.3=Lesson 1.Resource 2.


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