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THe Ziegfeld Follies and the Musical Revue - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Introduction to. THe Ziegfeld Follies and the Musical Revue. What’s a revue?. A collections of songs, usually, but not always, connected by some common theme Often used political humor and parodied important shows/people of the time Very popular form from around WWI to the Great Depression.

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Introduction to

THe Ziegfeld Follies and the Musical Revue

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What’s a revue?

  • A collections of songs, usually, but not always, connected by some common theme

  • Often used political humor and parodied important shows/people of the time

  • Very popular form from around WWI to the Great Depression

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The Passing Show

  • Opened in 1894

  • Produced by George Lederer at the Casino Theatre

  • First show to be successfully billed as a review

  • Parodied shows of the past theatrical season

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Florenz Ziegfeld

  • Ran a variety of shows as a teenager

  • Father was the director of musical events for the Chicago World’s Fair 1893

    • Sent to Europe to find classical music acts, but instead found vaudeville acts and nearly bankrupted his father

    • One of the acts was strongman Eugene Sandlow

  • Took Sandow on a two year tour

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Ziegfeld’s Early shows

  • Promoted Anna Held, whom he fell in love with

  • Developed and revived shows to flatter her

  • Added chorus girls to his 1899 production of Papa’s Wife and 1901 production of The Little Duchess

  • Return program in 1902 featured a line in the program stating: “Owing to the length of the performance the plot has been eliminated

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Birth of the Follies

  • Held convinced her husband to create a revue

  • Financed by Marcus Klaw & A.L. Erlanger

  • First put on in 1907 at the New York Theater’s rundown rooftop garden, renamed the Jardin de Paris

  • Ran for 70 performances, and was the first rooftop show to sellout all summer

  • The 1907 version featured the Anna Held Girls, a line of 50 chorus girls featuring Held

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Success of the Follies

  • 1908 featured the first “hit” song in a revue, “Shine on a Harvest Moon”

  • The Jardin was upgraded for the 1909 version of the Follies

  • Hired Bert Williams and Fanny Brice for the 1910 version

  • Renamed the show The Ziegfeld Follies in 1911

  • Moved to the New Amsterdam Theatre in 1913

  • Hired Joseph Urban as set designer, which gave the Follies a distinctive art deco design

  • Ran for 25 editions through 1951

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“Blue Nursery Scene” from the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931, model by Joseph Urban

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The last Follies

  • Last personal edition was in 1931, but waning interest in the revue, and the Great Depression, hurt Ziegfeld’s ability to raise money

    • Ziegfeld continued to spend large amounts of money despite not making it back

  • Ziegfeld passed away in 1932

  • His second wife, Billie Burke, licensed the show to the Schubert’s who put on several editions that became more and more risque

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Legacy of the Follies

  • Featured several stars of the Broadway stage including:

    • Sophie Tucker (1909)

    • Will Rodgers (1916)

    • Paul Whiteman (1923)

    • Bob Hope (1936)

    • Julie Newmar (1956)

  • Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and Victor Herbert were composers who wrote for the Follies

  • Ziegfeld first producer/star- Name alone would bring success

  • Last edition, 1957, featured the first rock and roll song on Broadway

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Other Revues

  • The George White Scandals (1919-1939)

    • Most successful revues besides the Follies

    • Music was better: Gershwin’s “Stairway to Paradise” and DeSylva, Henderson, and Brown’s “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries” were hits from the Scandals

  • The Passing Show (1912 to 1924)

    • Revived by the Schubert Brothers, Lee and Jacob

    • Featured underdressed chorus girls and just enough comedy to keep the audience awake

  • The Garrick Gaieties (1925, 1926, 1930)

    • By Richard Rodgers and Moss Hart

    • Written as a two night benefit for the Theatre Guild in NYC

    • Emphasized youth, wit, and parodied shows of the day

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Decline of revue

  • Stock Market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression

    • Revue was too expensive to produce compared to running a movie theater

    • Audience tastes shifted towards book musicals

  • Revue shifted radically to poking fun at the labor movement and management

    • Did not do well Uptown

  • Television variety shows became popular

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The modern revue

  • Based on time period

    • Tintypes (1980)- Based on Pre WWI music

  • Based on composer

    • By Bernstein (1975)

    • Smokey Joe’s Café (1995)

  • Based on a songwriting team

    • A Grand Night for Singing- All Rodgers and Hammerstein

  • Based on a Theme

    • Songs for a New World (1995)

  • Parody of Broadway

    • Forbidden Broadway (1982 and beyond)