Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand


Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'

Series exploring how musical theatre evolved over the last 100 years. Neil finds out how its modern shape was established through pioneering works.


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Transcript


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The West End.

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Each year, 15 million people make the pilgrimage here to

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London's theatre-land.

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Every kind of drama is available, but when we talk about going

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to see a show, we really mean one thing -

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a musical.

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Taking 60% of London's box office receipts,

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musical theatre towers over all other types of dramatic

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performance and rakes in a third of a billion pounds a year.

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THEY SING

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# I think I'll try defying gravity

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# And you can't pull me down! #

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And while some shows are successful,

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there's long been an elite.

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Shows like Les Mis, Cats,

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Phantom Of The Opera, and now Wicked,

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that count their runs in decades.

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If you have your tickets,

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move along and join the end of the queue on the other side.

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So what is the foundation of this multi-billion-pound industry?

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HE PLAYS PIANO

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For me, a composer, it comes down to the songs.

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HE PLAYS: Consider Yourself by Lionel Bart

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Precision tooled, they tell stories,

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and work on us at the deepest level.

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Don't be misled by their popularity -

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musicals are an art form

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that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any other.

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In this series, I'm travelling to Broadway and back,

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exploring a century of musical theatre's history.

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I'll meet the composers...

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Lyrics come by you at the speed of music.

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..the innovators...

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And he sat down at the piano and he played me this...

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HE SCATS MELODY OF: If I Were A Rich Man

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..and the performers.

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# One singular sensation

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# Every little step she takes... #

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# He made a mixtape... #

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I'll be joined by the cream of British performing talent.

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# Ol' man river... #

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They'll help me recreate much-loved numbers...

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# Oh, what a beautiful day... #

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..and I'll reveal just how these songs work their magic.

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# ..feelin' Everything's goin' my way... #

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So, please take your seats, turn off your mobile phones,

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and enjoy the show.

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In this first episode, I'm going to chart the invention

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of the modern musical in the first half of the 20th century.

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We begin in the West End in 1900, where the comic operas of

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Gilbert & Sullivan and their imitators are well established.

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But almost as an antidote to all this Mikado business,

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a breezy alternative has emerged...

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The musical comedy.

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And 1900's big hit is a show called Florodora.

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Like all musical comedies, Florodora was a lively,

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romantic story whose scripted dialogue was punctuated by

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specially written songs...

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..preserved for posterity on this rare recording by the composer

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and original cast.

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Amid songs such as I Want To Be A Military Man

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and The Flowers Are Blooming So Gay was a number that was to become

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the musical theatre sensation of the early 20th century.

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# Tell me, pretty maiden

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# Are there any more at home like you?

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# There are a few, kind sir

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# But simple girls and proper too... #

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Doesn't sound much, does it?

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But there's a long-established rule of musical theatre

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that if things are getting a bit dull in the second half,

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you bring on the girls!

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What the record can't capture is the staging of the number,

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recreated as the climax of the early Technicolor film

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The Florodora Girl.

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Here we see Edwardian musical comedy's unpretentious

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winning formula - pretty girls, a bit of dancing,

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a hugely catchy, if mildly clunky, tune.

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# Tell me, pretty maiden Are there any more at home like you?

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# There are a few, kind sir

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# But simple girls, and proper too

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# Then tell me, pretty maiden what these very simple girlies do?

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# Kind sir... #

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Florodora's success wasn't just confined to the West End.

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Like many British shows, it transferred to Broadway,

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where it was even more successful.

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In the Edwardian age, London was a kind of musical comedy factory.

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Hit shows were prefabricated here...

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and then exported to New York.

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This transatlantic trade meant that there was plenty of

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opportunity for someone on the make,

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someone like Jerome Kern, a young American composer.

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Kern spent a lot of time in London's theatre world

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and, back in New York, he discovered there was quite

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a market for Florodora sound-alike tunes.

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When American producers came to stage these shows fresh from London,

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they were often disappointed.

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Musically, they could be a bit patchy,

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and Kern was in the perfect position to be a kind of show doctor,

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replacing the weaker tunes with songs much more to Broadway's taste.

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-# How'd you like to spoon with me?

-I'd like to!

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-# How'd you like to spoon with me?

-Well, rather! #

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But Kern was no hack.

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This son of a German Jewish immigrant had studied

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classical composition in Heidelberg.

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And he was a second generation New Yorker,

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a product of a modern city that had become a cultural melting pot.

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From these elements of the old and new world,

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Kern forged the sound of the 20th century musical,

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first heard in 1914,

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when he added songs to yet another imported British show.

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One song in particular set fire to everything that had come before.

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They Didn't Believe Me was intimate, romantic and beautiful,

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the first modern Broadway ballad,

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and as such, a template for the 20th century love song.

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# And when I told them

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# How wonderful you are

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# They didn't believe me

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# They didn't believe me

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# Your lips, your eyes your curly hair

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# Are in a class beyond compare

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# They're the loveliest thing

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# That one could see

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# And when I tell them

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# And I'm certainly going to tell them

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# That I'm the girl whose boy one day you'll be

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# They'll never believe me

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# They'll never believe me

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# That from this great big world

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# You've chosen me. #

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This is a wonderfully relaxed number.

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That 4/4 motif there...

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Like a buggy ride, we're jogging along with this song,

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and, at the time, most sort of declamatory love songs

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tended to be waltzes, they tended to be in three-time.

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It makes it much more intimate.

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It's like we're kind of listening in on a conversation,

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even including the lyric of,

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"And when I tell them, and I'm certainly going to tell them,"

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the implication being,

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"This is the best thing that's ever happened to me,

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"I wouldn't keep it to myself."

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That feels almost like, for the period,

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a kind of street slang thrown into the song.

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This is why the song is so revolutionary,

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it's because it's not declamatory.

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If anything, it's inviting us in and allowing us to feel its warmth.

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# And when I tell them

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# And I'm certainly going to tell them

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# That I'm the girl whose boy one day you'll be

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# They'll never believe me

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# They'll never believe me

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# That from this great big world

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# You've chosen me. #

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They Didn't Believe Me turned the romantic ballad,

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a love song in 4/4 time, into musical theatre's main event.

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It also helped to inspire a new generation of songwriters.

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One young man was so transfixed by hearing

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They Didn't Believe Me at his aunt's wedding that he quit his job

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as a song plugger and came here to Broadway as a rehearsal pianist.

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He was none other than George Gershwin,

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and he and so many other composers learned from Jerome Kern that

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musical theatre was capable of communicating sophisticated

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artistic statements.

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Up until the 1920s, New York's theatre-land was home to

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all kinds of music -

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European operetta, song-and-dance men, ragtime...

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But these were edged out by songs whose creators often shared

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Kern's Jewish immigrant experience.

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The melodies of Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Richard Rodgers

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are urban, urbane, quintessentially American,

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and still very much part of our culture.

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# I got rhythm

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# I got music

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# I got my man Who could ask for anything more? #

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# Picture me upon your knee

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# Just tea for two and two for tea... #

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# What'll I do

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# When you are far away...? #

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However, the greatness of the music wasn't matched by the shows,

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which were lightweight and disposable.

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The job of expanding the musical

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would fall yet again to Jerome Kern.

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In 1927, he composed Show Boat,

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a collaboration with lyricist Oscar Hammerstein.

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The agenda - to make song and story work together

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to produce a coherent work of art.

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This is a sprawling saga that follows the performers

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and crew of the Cotton Blossom, a show boat on the Mississippi.

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There's alcoholism, abandonment,

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and most provocatively of all, racism.

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Significantly, all the characters are treated with sympathy.

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Up until now, if black performers featured at all in musical theatre,

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it was as caricatures.

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Musically, too, Show Boat was a daring idea.

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A show boat was basically a box,

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into which Jerome Kern could cram as many varieties of

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early 20th century American popular music as he could think of, from

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bluesy ballads and work songs all the way up to high-flown operetta.

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Oscar Hammerstein was all too aware that this could prove

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a recipe for a baggy mess, so he worked intensively to see that every

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song served the narrative, and where possible, pushed the story forward.

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He's such a bad actor on the stage and he thinks he's...

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You can see how Show Boat uses songs as a storytelling device

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from this film version, adapted by Hammerstein himself,

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during the song Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man.

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# Fish got to swim Birds got to fly

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# I gotta love one man till I die

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# Can't help lovin' dat man of mine. #

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That's it.

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Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man is an early example of what musical

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theatre folk call an "I am" song.

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This is a song that introduces a character

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near the beginning of a show -

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not just who they are, but what's driving them.

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Here, the song reveals something about the identity of Julie,

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the Cotton Blossom's leading lady.

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When the ship's cook, Queenie, hears Julie singing the song,

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she remarks that, "That's a song that black folks usually sing."

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How come you all know that song?

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Why, do you know it, Queenie?

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Well, sure I does, but I didn't ever hear anybody but coloured folks

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sing that song. It sounds funny for Miss Julie to know it.

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Julie sings it all the time!

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Can you sing the whole thing?

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Course I can! What's so funny about that?

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This is a cue for the audience, for Julie is mixed race,

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passing as white, and she's married to a white man -

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a perilous situation under Mississippi's racist laws.

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The song isn't just a fantastic piece of music.

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It's a hint to the audience about the secret that Julie's

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carrying with her, and therefore a vitally important part of the show.

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Show Boat's political edge was a deliberate statement by

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Oscar Hammerstein, who not only wrote the song lyrics but

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also the spoken dialogue, known in musical theatre as the "book".

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The offspring of a distinguished theatrical family, Oscar Hammerstein

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liked to say that he'd been born with two gold spoons in his mouth.

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But he cared deeply about injustice and believed that, through music,

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he could make the moneyed Broadway crowd feel the cruelties of

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the Jim Crow South for themselves.

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You see this particularly in a song that recurs throughout the show,

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written for the character of Joe, a dock worker on the Mississippi.

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# There's an old man called the Mississippi

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# That's the old man that I'd like to be

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# What does he care if the world got troubles?

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# What does he care if the land ain't free?

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# Ol' man river

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# That ol' man river

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# He must know somethin'

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# But don't say nothin'

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# He just keeps rollin'

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# He keeps on rollin'

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# Along

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# He don't plant 'taters

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# He don't plant cotton

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# And them that plants 'em

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# Is soon forgotten

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# But ol' man river

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# He just keeps rollin'

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# Along. #

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In order to draw us into this number,

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Hammerstein does something really clever with the rhyme scheme.

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He gives us kind of half-rhymes that we know don't quite work.

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"He must know somethin' but don't say nothin'.

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Somethin' and nothin' aren't quite rhymes.

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But then he gives us exact rhymes that have terrific power.

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"They don't plant 'taters, they don't plant cotton,

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"and them as plants 'em is soon forgotten."

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That rhyme is so precise it lands exactly where we live,

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and suddenly this song isn't about Joe, it's about us.

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The universality of Ol' Man River is what makes it so powerful.

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# I get weary

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# And sick of trying

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# I'm tired of living

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# And scared of dying

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# But ol' man river

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# He just keeps rolling

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# Along. #

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In its scope, its seriousness and its blend of story and song,

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Show Boat was a first.

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The New York Times declared it, "One of those epochal works

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"about which garrulous old men gabble for 25 years."

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A song-writing pair who understood its lessons

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were Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

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In their run of hit shows from the '20s and through the '30s,

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their meticulously crafted songs,

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like The Lady Is A Tramp and My Funny Valentine,

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often served the story.

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# That's why the lady is a tramp

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# I like the free... #

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Richard Rodgers could off an unforgettable melody

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almost casually,

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while Larry Hart was arguably the most dazzling lyricist

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in musical theatre history.

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They remain a huge influence,

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as I found out when I met Stephen Schwartz,

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composer and lyricist behind shows like Godspell and Wicked.

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So in amongst a plethora of fantastic composers,

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we have the Gershwins, we have Irving Berlin,

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what makes Richard Rodgers and Larry Hart stand out,

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particularly Larry Hart?

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Obviously, he's very well-known for his wit and his cleverness,

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but it's a certain kind of wit in the way that he rhymes things

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and he always knew how to set up the rhyme that was the joke.

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One of the songs that I loved was a song called To Keep My Love Alive.

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Basically, in this song, a woman is singing about all the lovers

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and essentially how she bumped them off rather than divorce them,

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which is already a kind of funny idea, but she sings...

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# Sir Paul was frail He looked a wreck to me

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# At night he was a horse's neck to me

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# So I performed an appendectomy

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# To keep my love alive. #

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So clever.

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"Sir Paul was frail, he looked a wreck to me.

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"At night he was a horse's neck to me."

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Now, both of those are slightly clumsy, but they're good enough

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that you kind of get by it and then he hits you with,

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"So I performed an appendectomy," and you're so delighted.

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But I have to tell you that the thing that I respond to most

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about Larry Hart is not in fact the wit

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but the deep, sort of, well of sadness that's underneath it.

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I know that he was very unhappy, that he was gay and closeted

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and that he thought himself extremely unattractive.

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You know, My Funny Valentine, which should be a, sort of, happy song.

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# Is your figure less than Greek?

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# Is your mouth a little weak

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# When you open it to speak?

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# Are you smart?

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# But don't change a hair for me

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# Not if you care for me

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# Stay, little valentine

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# Stay

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# Each day is Valentine's

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# Day. #

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It's like, in the best sense, it's just like a knife in the heart.

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The pain of it.

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And what I love about a song like My Funny Valentine,

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both lyrically and musically,

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is that there's something heartbreaking about it

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even though there's nothing overtly heartbreaking,

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so what you have is enormous subtext,

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both musically and lyrically,

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and that's a fairly modern... erm, concept

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in terms of song-writing.

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It used to be, you just wrote what you were thinking

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and you basically just said it in a clever and new way.

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And I think Larry Hart brought to popular song

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and musical theatre songs the whole idea of subtext.

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It really wasn't there very much before from other writers.

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But after a decade and a half of success

0:23:120:23:15

with clever, witty, subtextual songs, there was a problem.

0:23:150:23:19

Hart was drinking heavily.

0:23:190:23:22

By the early 1940s, there were just too many lost days

0:23:220:23:25

in the bars of midtown Manhattan

0:23:250:23:28

to allow the creative collaboration with Rodgers to function properly.

0:23:280:23:32

Eventually, Rodgers hatched a plan to get Larry Hart into a sanatorium.

0:23:340:23:39

Rodgers would check himself in and, while Hart was drying out,

0:23:390:23:42

the two of them would adapt a play that Rodgers had his eye on,

0:23:420:23:45

Green Grow The Lilacs,

0:23:450:23:47

that he thought would make a wonderful musical.

0:23:470:23:50

Well, Larry Hart was having none of it.

0:23:500:23:52

He was going to go off to Mexico and drink himself to oblivion.

0:23:520:23:55

Rodgers threatened to go off and write the show with somebody else,

0:23:550:23:59

Oscar Hammerstein,

0:23:590:24:01

and that's when Larry Hart called his bluff.

0:24:010:24:05

"No better man for the job.

0:24:050:24:07

"I don't know how you put up with me for all these years."

0:24:070:24:11

And with that, the partnership was heading for divorce.

0:24:110:24:15

On the face of it, the original play didn't seem promising material.

0:24:180:24:22

It was set in Oklahoma

0:24:220:24:24

and largely about who would take a girl to the local dance.

0:24:240:24:28

Pretty soon, word got around the whole thing was a flop

0:24:280:24:31

in the making.

0:24:310:24:33

The producers were on the verge of bankruptcy,

0:24:340:24:36

the production team were largely untested in musical theatre,

0:24:360:24:40

nobody thought that Richard Rodgers could write without Larry Hart,

0:24:400:24:44

when a New York gossip columnist managed to sneak his assistant

0:24:440:24:47

into an out-of-town try out,

0:24:470:24:49

she took one look at the show's homespun Frontier setting

0:24:490:24:53

and cabled back, "No legs, no jokes, no chance."

0:24:530:24:57

But with Oscar Hammerstein, Rodgers discovered a new way of working.

0:25:040:25:08

Unlike Hart, Hammerstein wrote the lyrics first,

0:25:080:25:12

then asked his composer to supply the music.

0:25:120:25:15

Stylistically too, Hammerstein relied less on playing with words

0:25:150:25:20

than on a more unselfconscious way with language.

0:25:200:25:23

And from the very opening number, it was obvious

0:25:230:25:27

that Rodgers and Hammerstein's first musical, Oklahoma!,

0:25:270:25:30

was going to be different to anything that had come before.

0:25:300:25:34

Traditionally, musicals had always started with a big number.

0:25:380:25:42

Dancing girls, high kicks, all the zhoosh right at the top of the show

0:25:420:25:46

so the audience knew they hadn't paid their money in vain.

0:25:460:25:50

That was a real problem for Rodgers and Hammerstein

0:25:500:25:53

with this particular show.

0:25:530:25:54

They did try to find excuses to have dancing girls

0:25:540:25:57

on the plains of Oklahoma but none of that was really going to work.

0:25:570:26:01

What they needed was something simple and realistic -

0:26:010:26:04

figures in a landscape.

0:26:040:26:07

Eventually, in desperation,

0:26:070:26:09

Hammerstein turned to the stage directions of the original play.

0:26:090:26:13

"It's a radiant summer morning several years ago,

0:26:140:26:17

"the kind of morning which, enveloping the shapes of earth -

0:26:170:26:20

"men, cattle in a meadow, blades of the young corn, streams -

0:26:200:26:25

"makes them seem to exist now for the first time..."

0:26:250:26:29

Well, pruning some of that excessive verbiage,

0:26:300:26:33

Hammerstein came up with a lyric which gave us the whole sense

0:26:330:26:36

of the world of Oklahoma!, but more importantly the world

0:26:360:26:40

of our leading man, Curly, the cowboy, massively in love,

0:26:400:26:45

who we first hear singing offstage.

0:26:450:26:47

# There's a bright golden haze on the meadow

0:26:490:26:54

# There's a bright golden haze on the meadow... #

0:26:550:27:01

We're going to like him a lot, largely because of this number.

0:27:020:27:06

He has an imagination that can look out across a cornfield

0:27:060:27:09

and see elephants standing in it.

0:27:090:27:11

# The corn is as high as an elephant's eye

0:27:110:27:18

# And it looks like it's climbing

0:27:190:27:21

# Clear up to the sky

0:27:210:27:25

# Oh, what a beautiful morning

0:27:250:27:30

# Oh, what a beautiful day

0:27:300:27:34

# I've got a beautiful feeling

0:27:340:27:38

# Everything's going my way. #

0:27:380:27:42

This song not only gives us an indication of where the show's going

0:27:460:27:49

and where musical theatre's going, it's a wonderful breakdown

0:27:490:27:52

of the relationship between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein,

0:27:520:27:56

because the way they work is that Hammerstein has written a folk song

0:27:560:28:00

full of words like "meadow" and "yellow"

0:28:000:28:03

and the "ol' weepin' willow",

0:28:030:28:05

and the tune is quite simple that Rodgers has written.

0:28:050:28:09

especially at the end of the first chorus

0:28:090:28:11

where the whole line is on one note.

0:28:110:28:14

HE PLAYS THE LINE

0:28:140:28:16

A lesser composer might just do...

0:28:160:28:18

HE PLAYS AN ALTERNATIVE

0:28:180:28:21

But listen to what Rodgers does do with the accompaniment to that.

0:28:230:28:27

HE PLAYS THE ACCOMPANIMENT

0:28:270:28:29

He takes us into the chorus through pure Broadway.

0:28:360:28:39

Listen to that lovely note...

0:28:390:28:41

We don't expect that at all.

0:28:440:28:46

It keeps us really interested in the song.

0:28:460:28:49

That lovely climb there, a real sense of stretching

0:28:520:28:55

towards a moment.

0:28:550:28:57

Pure Broadway. And I might add that Richard Rodgers wrote this song,

0:29:000:29:05

so they say, in ten minutes.

0:29:050:29:08

Ten minutes to rewrite the rule book of the musical.

0:29:080:29:12

# All the sounds of the earth are like music

0:29:170:29:21

# All the sounds of the earth are like music

0:29:210:29:25

# The breeze is so busy

0:29:250:29:28

# It don't miss a tree

0:29:280:29:30

# And an ol' weepin' willow

0:29:310:29:35

# Is laughing at me

0:29:350:29:38

# Oh, what a beautiful morning

0:29:390:29:44

# Oh, what a beautiful day

0:29:440:29:48

# I've got a beautiful feeling

0:29:480:29:52

# Everything's going my way

0:29:520:29:56

# Oh, what a beautiful

0:29:570:30:04

# Day. #

0:30:050:30:09

Never before had a show opened in such a naturalistic way.

0:30:180:30:22

Oklahoma!'s choreographer, Agnes de Mille, remembered,

0:30:240:30:27

"It produced a sigh from the entire house

0:30:270:30:30

"that I don't think I've ever heard in the theatre.

0:30:300:30:33

"It was just, 'Ahh.' "

0:30:330:30:35

The first act ended with de Mille's dream ballet.

0:30:470:30:50

It lasts a full 15 minutes

0:30:500:30:53

and she beautifully recreated it for the film version.

0:30:530:30:56

Dance had been used in musicals before but never like this,

0:31:030:31:08

where striking choreography provides the audience with further

0:31:080:31:12

insights into the psychological state of the characters.

0:31:120:31:16

But the most radical aspect of all was the way the show integrated

0:31:190:31:23

the key components of the musical into a cohesive whole.

0:31:230:31:27

Lyrics...

0:31:280:31:29

..music...

0:31:300:31:32

..plot line...

0:31:330:31:34

..choreography...

0:31:360:31:38

costumes...

0:31:380:31:40

..and stage design.

0:31:410:31:43

All work seamlessly together,

0:31:430:31:46

with no single element overshadowing the rest.

0:31:460:31:49

This is the secret of Oklahoma!'s universal appeal,

0:31:490:31:54

as Richard Rodgers' composer grandson, Adam Guettel,

0:31:540:31:57

well understands.

0:31:570:31:59

For one thing, it was a very well integrated musical, certainly.

0:31:590:32:03

It was very...

0:32:030:32:05

immersive.

0:32:050:32:07

It wasn't a show that relied on associations

0:32:070:32:10

or urbane, you know, currency.

0:32:100:32:13

It was a place that the audience, sort of, could go into

0:32:130:32:17

and live in these characters.

0:32:170:32:19

Erm, sort of pull the proscenium around their ears

0:32:190:32:23

and just really be in there, which is why they are done so much.

0:32:230:32:27

They don't date like track lighting.

0:32:270:32:30

They don't look like beanbag chairs, they look like universal stories

0:32:300:32:34

because they are so immersive, the way a great opera is.

0:32:340:32:37

It's a world we live in.

0:32:370:32:39

After opening night, Rodgers and Hammerstein followed tradition

0:32:440:32:48

and came here, to Sardi's, the famous Broadway restaurant.

0:32:480:32:52

So many careers have been made and lost at these tables

0:32:540:32:57

as nervous theatre folk

0:32:570:32:59

waited for those first important reviews to appear.

0:32:590:33:02

But the pair were here to celebrate.

0:33:040:33:06

Critics were raving about Oklahoma!.

0:33:060:33:09

And there were ways of ensuring that this blockbuster of a musical

0:33:100:33:14

reached people who couldn't make it to Broadway

0:33:140:33:17

or afford the ticket prices.

0:33:170:33:19

This is the original cast recording.

0:33:200:33:23

Every song in the show in the order in which it appears on stage.

0:33:230:33:27

A first for a Broadway musical.

0:33:270:33:29

It's kind of like a photo album.

0:33:290:33:31

You can work your way consecutively through the songs

0:33:310:33:34

and relive your experience in the theatre.

0:33:340:33:37

Decca sold over a million copies of this recording.

0:33:370:33:41

Pretty impressive in itself.

0:33:410:33:43

But bear in mind that Rodgers and Hammerstein

0:33:430:33:46

weren't just on royalties for a couple of hits from the show.

0:33:460:33:49

Thanks to this, they were on royalties for every single number.

0:33:490:33:53

In 1945, barely two years after Oklahoma!,

0:33:580:34:01

Rodgers and Hammerstein returned with a darker work

0:34:010:34:04

that many consider their masterpiece.

0:34:040:34:07

Carousel.

0:34:080:34:10

An ill-starred romance with a metaphysical twist,

0:34:130:34:16

Carousel saw the pair testing just how far

0:34:160:34:19

the integrated musical could be taken.

0:34:190:34:21

You can hear the form being stretched early in the first act

0:34:220:34:26

in what has become known as the bench scene.

0:34:260:34:29

This has been described by no less an authority than Stephen Sondheim

0:34:290:34:33

as probably the singular most important moment

0:34:330:34:36

in the revolution of contemporary musicals.

0:34:360:34:39

THEY WARM UP VOICES

0:34:390:34:41

Working with students from the Bristol old Vic Theatre School,

0:34:440:34:48

I'm trying to get to grips with this hugely influential scene.

0:34:480:34:52

The brilliance of the bench scene is the way dialogue, song

0:34:520:34:55

and musical underscore are woven together into a seamless whole.

0:34:550:34:59

# I recall... #

0:35:030:35:05

We've got a better chance of both of us coming in at the same time.

0:35:050:35:09

And as I'm finding out,

0:35:100:35:12

unpicking it is a particularly intricate challenge.

0:35:120:35:15

-Well done. We're there.

-Thank you.

0:35:150:35:17

Oh, my God.

0:35:170:35:18

This is the hardest musical thing I've had to do in about 15 years.

0:35:180:35:22

Let's start with mill workers Carrie Pipperidge and Julie Jordan.

0:35:220:35:26

Here, Carrie quizzes Julie about a fairground barker, Billy Bigelow,

0:35:260:35:31

who is sweet on Julie after meeting her on his carousel ride.

0:35:310:35:35

# Julie

0:35:360:35:38

# Julie, do you like him?

0:35:390:35:42

# I don't know

0:35:420:35:44

# Did you like it when he talked to you today?

0:35:440:35:47

# When he put you on that carousel that way?

0:35:470:35:51

# Did you like that?

0:35:510:35:53

# I'd rather not say

0:35:530:35:55

# You're a queer one, Julie Jordan

0:35:550:35:59

# You are quieter and deeper than a well

0:35:590:36:02

# And you never tell me nothing

0:36:020:36:06

# There's nothing that I care to choose to tell... #

0:36:060:36:09

Carrie and Julie are very different girls

0:36:090:36:12

and their characters are delineated in the music.

0:36:120:36:15

You actually hear Carrie say that Julie is deeper than a well,

0:36:150:36:19

which is not a good thing to be, in Carrie's world.

0:36:190:36:22

Also, Julie sings in dotted notes.

0:36:220:36:24

# Ya-ba-dum-ba-dum-ba-dum-ba-ram. #

0:36:240:36:26

So there's a kind of freespiritedness about her.

0:36:260:36:29

Whereas Carrie smooths everything out.

0:36:290:36:31

# Ya-da-da-di, da-da-da-da-dum Ba-ra-ra-ra-di-di-di. #

0:36:310:36:35

So you've got that delineation between them.

0:36:350:36:38

# Always sitting by a window

0:36:380:36:41

# I like to watch the river meet the sea

0:36:410:36:45

# When we work in the mill

0:36:480:36:50

# Weaving at the loom

0:36:500:36:52

# You gaze absent-minded at the roof... #

0:36:520:36:55

The other extraordinary thing is that Rodgers gives us the sound

0:36:550:36:59

of the loom when they're talking about the loom.

0:36:590:37:02

HE PLAYS RHYTHM ON PIANO

0:37:020:37:04

But then when Carrie points out that Julie could lose her job

0:37:050:37:08

because she's not concentrating, it moves into a kind of weird...

0:37:080:37:12

# And half the time your shuttle gets twisted in the threads

0:37:120:37:15

# Till you can't tell a warp from a woof

0:37:150:37:18

# 'T ain't so. #

0:37:200:37:21

It's as if their real lives

0:37:220:37:24

are delineated in the music they're singing.

0:37:240:37:27

Beautifully done.

0:37:270:37:28

And we're taken so deep into these girls' characters.

0:37:280:37:31

But the scene's most remarkable achievement is that we get to see

0:37:320:37:36

Julie and Billy fall in love right in front of us.

0:37:360:37:39

We don't just get their awkward conversation,

0:37:390:37:42

there's also a simultaneous dialogue going on

0:37:420:37:45

within the characters themselves.

0:37:450:37:47

Say, tell me something, ain't you scared of me?

0:37:480:37:52

I mean, after what the cops said about me taking money from girls?

0:37:520:37:56

I ain't scared.

0:37:560:37:57

Billy is deeply troubled and not a nice guy.

0:37:570:38:01

He should be wrong for Julie.

0:38:010:38:03

But we see how she slowly gets him to access his emotions,

0:38:030:38:07

possibly for the first time in his life.

0:38:070:38:10

-But you wouldn't marry anyone like me, would you?

-Yes.

0:38:100:38:13

I would if I loved you.

0:38:130:38:15

How do you know what it would be like if you loved me

0:38:150:38:18

or how you'd feel or anything?

0:38:180:38:20

I don't know how I'd know.

0:38:200:38:22

Just the same, I know how it would be if I loved you.

0:38:270:38:31

# When I worked in the mill

0:38:320:38:34

# Weaving at the loom

0:38:340:38:36

# I gaze absent-minded at the roof

0:38:360:38:39

# And half the time, the shuttle it tangles in the threads

0:38:400:38:44

# And a warp would get mixed with a woof

0:38:440:38:47

# If I loved you. #

0:38:470:38:51

-But you don't.

-No, I don't.

0:38:520:38:56

In musical theatre, characters don't often sing, "I love you,"

0:38:570:39:01

certainly not this early in the show,

0:39:010:39:03

because where's the drama in that?

0:39:030:39:05

You've got nowhere to go.

0:39:050:39:07

But what Hammerstein created, and this song, If I Loved You,

0:39:070:39:10

is the perfect example of it, is the almost love song.

0:39:100:39:13

It's a love song where two people talk about loving each other

0:39:130:39:18

without actually declaring it.

0:39:180:39:20

# But somehow I can see

0:39:210:39:25

# Just exactly how I'd be

0:39:250:39:30

# If I loved you

0:39:320:39:36

# Time and again I would try to say

0:39:360:39:41

# All I'd want you

0:39:410:39:45

# To know... #

0:39:450:39:49

And it feels wonderful to us.

0:39:500:39:51

We learn so much about them as characters

0:39:510:39:54

and the fact that they have not declared their love

0:39:540:39:57

makes us want that to happen so, so much.

0:39:570:40:01

# Longing to tell you but afraid

0:40:010:40:05

# And shy

0:40:050:40:08

# I'd let my golden chances pass me by

0:40:080:40:15

# Soon you'd leave me

0:40:160:40:19

# Off you would go in the mist of day

0:40:190:40:23

# Never, never

0:40:230:40:26

# To know

0:40:260:40:30

# How I love you

0:40:300:40:35

# If I loved you. #

0:40:360:40:42

You're right about there being no wind.

0:40:440:40:46

The blossoms are just coming down by themselves.

0:40:460:40:49

Just their time to, I'd reckon.

0:40:520:40:54

Because of the way the scene is built,

0:40:540:40:57

we end up rooting for Julie and Billy

0:40:570:40:59

as they seize the moment and take life by the scruff of the neck.

0:40:590:41:04

Carousel has moved on a million miles

0:41:200:41:23

from the stories like Oklahoma! that had preceded it...

0:41:230:41:27

..to embrace nothing less than life, death, the universe and everything.

0:41:280:41:33

And what has bound that whole bench scene together

0:41:340:41:37

is that cyclical sound.

0:41:370:41:40

# Ya-da-da-da, ya-da-da-da Ya-da-da-da. #

0:41:400:41:42

It's the sound of the carousel - the carousel we are all on.

0:41:420:41:46

This is what makes this show so powerful,

0:41:470:41:49

because at no time does it talk about anything less

0:41:490:41:53

than every last one of us and, in this particular instance,

0:41:530:41:57

how we might just possibly all get the chance

0:41:570:42:01

to find that great music in our soul.

0:42:010:42:04

Today, you don't have to go all the way to Broadway to get the real deal

0:42:080:42:13

when it comes to a great Rodgers and Hammerstein show.

0:42:130:42:16

Which is why I've come to soggy Sheffield,

0:42:170:42:20

Britain's very own award-winning centre of musical excellence.

0:42:200:42:24

Here at the Crucible Theatre, they are putting on Annie Get Your Gun,

0:42:240:42:28

Rodgers and Hammerstein's next production after Carousel.

0:42:280:42:32

But this time the duo would be producers, not creators.

0:42:330:42:37

And keen to get other Broadway greats involved

0:42:380:42:41

in their new model for the musical, they turned to Jerome Kern.

0:42:410:42:45

Kern had been working in Hollywood and agreed he would write the music

0:42:460:42:51

but he collapsed shortly into the project

0:42:510:42:54

and died with Oscar Hammerstein at his bedside.

0:42:540:42:58

In desperation, they turned to Irving Berlin.

0:43:000:43:03

Like Kern, Berlin was a musical theatre pioneer,

0:43:030:43:07

but up until now had largely stuck to high-kicking revue shows,

0:43:070:43:11

the aptly phrased "tits-and-teeth productions".

0:43:110:43:14

Berlin had several reservations about Annie Get Your Gun.

0:43:160:43:20

His main one being that he didn't think he could write

0:43:200:43:22

a Rodgers and Hammerstein style integrated musical,

0:43:220:43:25

but Rodgers told him it was actually easier than trying to pluck ideas

0:43:250:43:29

out of the sky, to write to a story.

0:43:290:43:31

He said, "You should go home, have a think about it,

0:43:310:43:34

"see if you can come up with any songs."

0:43:340:43:36

And when he did, Irving Berlin realised

0:43:360:43:39

that although Annie Oakley's story might be set in the West,

0:43:390:43:42

it was actually about showbusiness,

0:43:420:43:44

and what it needed was some great, big, toothy show tunes,

0:43:440:43:48

exactly what Irving Berlin knew how to write.

0:43:480:43:51

# All right. #

0:43:560:44:00

In the Crucible production,

0:44:050:44:07

Anna-Jane Casey plays the heroine of the show, Annie Oakley.

0:44:070:44:11

Annie was the sharpshooter star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

0:44:110:44:15

that toured America and Europe at the end of the 19th

0:44:150:44:18

and beginning of the 20th century.

0:44:180:44:20

In their version of the Annie Oakley storey,

0:44:210:44:23

Irving Berlin and book-writer Dorothy Fields created a show

0:44:230:44:27

of pure entertainment, where, to our enormous satisfaction,

0:44:270:44:31

the actors never stop letting their hair down.

0:44:310:44:34

Directing the fun is Paul Foster.

0:44:340:44:37

The one thing I'd say about musicals is that they're often about joy

0:44:380:44:42

and it's very nice to see this amount of joy in a rehearsal.

0:44:420:44:45

There's laughter involved in the process

0:44:450:44:49

and what the musical eventually will do

0:44:490:44:52

is make people want to leave the theatre 25 feet tall.

0:44:520:44:55

It starts here in the rehearsal room,

0:44:550:44:58

it starts weeks before the show is even seen by an audience.

0:44:580:45:01

# And with the sun in the morning and the moon in the evening

0:45:010:45:05

# I'm all right

0:45:050:45:08

# Got no butler, got no maid

0:45:080:45:10

# Still I think I've been overpaid

0:45:100:45:13

# I've got the sun in the morning and the moon at night

0:45:130:45:16

# She's got the sun in the morning and the moon at night. #

0:45:160:45:19

Dorothy Fields conceived Annie Get Your Gun as a star vehicle

0:45:190:45:23

for her friend, the first lady of Broadway, Ethel Merman.

0:45:230:45:27

Famously foul-mouthed and with a liking for raw meat and champagne,

0:45:290:45:34

Ethel for Annie Oakley seemed perfect casting,

0:45:340:45:37

and so it proved.

0:45:370:45:39

# On with the

0:45:390:45:42

# Show. #

0:45:420:45:47

Ethel Merman has come blasting into the room.

0:45:470:45:50

-Are you aware of Ethel Merman as part of the history...?

-Of course.

0:45:500:45:54

What I've found very interesting is,

0:45:540:45:56

some of the songs are so soft and gentle.

0:45:560:45:58

Moonshine Lullaby is a lullaby and yet you've got, "Moonshine lullaby!"

0:45:580:46:02

But it's classic Ethel. She's genius.

0:46:020:46:04

You can't fault that that woman had all the balls in the world.

0:46:040:46:08

And a tremendous following.

0:46:080:46:09

-I don't think she was ever in a flop.

-No.

0:46:090:46:12

If you go back to Girl Crazy, or Gypsy,

0:46:120:46:15

or if you go back to Anything Goes or Annie Get Your Gun,

0:46:150:46:18

to have her associated with the title was a mark of quality because

0:46:180:46:21

I don't think she'd have wasted her time on something substandard.

0:46:210:46:25

She had Gershwin writing for her, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin.

0:46:250:46:28

She was renowned as quite a belter.

0:46:280:46:30

Cole Porter said the great thing about her was you'd hear every word

0:46:300:46:34

-wherever you were sitting in the theatre.

-Which is no mean feat.

0:46:340:46:37

And in the pre-microphoning of that time.

0:46:370:46:40

And it wasn't just pipes, there's something more to it.

0:46:400:46:42

I don't think Ethel Merman was a big woman. I'm five foot three.

0:46:420:46:46

I don't think she was six foot or anything.

0:46:460:46:48

The big presence that she had was that big voice.

0:46:480:46:51

I'm the daughter of market traders. We can shout. "Four for a pound!"

0:46:510:46:55

You've got to have oomph to it.

0:46:550:46:56

I like when you go and see a show and you feel the hair is being

0:46:560:46:59

pulled back on your face when somebody sings so loud.

0:46:590:47:02

And to be able to mix it with the softer songs,

0:47:020:47:05

hopefully that's what we'll get.

0:47:050:47:06

44, two kids, still have abs, going to show them off!

0:47:060:47:09

A barnstorming song that any performer playing Annie

0:47:090:47:12

can revel in is You Can't Get A Man With A Gun.

0:47:120:47:16

This is one of half a dozen Irving Berlin show stoppers -

0:47:170:47:21

songs purpose-built to bring audiences to their feet.

0:47:210:47:25

What greater enjoyment can there be than this rifle-toting raucous cry

0:47:270:47:31

of protest all about the sacrifices Annie will have to make

0:47:310:47:34

to get her man.

0:47:340:47:36

# I'm cool, brave, and daring

0:47:370:47:39

# To see a lion glaring

0:47:390:47:41

# When I'm out with my Remington

0:47:410:47:46

# But a look from a mister

0:47:470:47:49

# Will raise a fever blister

0:47:490:47:52

# Oh, you can't get a man with a gun

0:47:520:47:56

# The gals with umbrellas

0:47:570:47:59

# Are always out with fellas

0:47:590:48:01

# In the rain or the blazin' sun

0:48:010:48:05

# But a man never trifles

0:48:060:48:09

# With gals who carry rifles

0:48:090:48:11

# Oh, you can't get a man with a gun. #

0:48:110:48:15

Anna-Jane knows this is one of the meatiest roles for a woman

0:48:170:48:20

in musical theatre.

0:48:200:48:22

The musical is 70 years old but this is a woman who shot like a man,

0:48:220:48:26

did everything that a man could do, and there's a great quote, she says,

0:48:260:48:29

"I ain't afraid to love a man but I'm also not afraid to shoot a man."

0:48:290:48:32

Most women these days find that.

0:48:320:48:34

# A man's love is mighty

0:48:340:48:38

# He'll even buy a nightie

0:48:390:48:42

# For a gal who he thinks is fun

0:48:430:48:49

# But they don't buy pyjamas

0:48:500:48:55

# For pistol-packin' mamas

0:48:550:49:00

# For a man may be hot

0:49:000:49:04

# But he's not when he's shot

0:49:040:49:10

# Oh, you can't

0:49:100:49:13

# Get a man

0:49:130:49:15

# With a gun. #

0:49:150:49:18

By the time of Annie, Broadway had entered what we now think of

0:49:240:49:28

as a golden age for the musical,

0:49:280:49:31

when every show seemed shot through with post-war optimism and energy.

0:49:310:49:35

Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate...

0:49:380:49:40

..Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific,

0:49:410:49:44

the Americana of Paint Your Wagon,

0:49:440:49:46

and my own favourite, Guys & Dolls.

0:49:460:49:49

But during the first half of the 1950s,

0:49:510:49:54

a show was being written, then set aside, then rewritten.

0:49:540:49:58

Set in Edwardian England,

0:49:580:50:00

it dealt with that most un-American of concepts,

0:50:000:50:03

the British class system.

0:50:030:50:05

What's perhaps most surprising is that this show was to become

0:50:050:50:08

the ultimate product of golden age Broadway.

0:50:080:50:11

My Fair Lady, as it would eventually be titled,

0:50:180:50:21

was an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion.

0:50:210:50:25

This is the story of how, for a bet, professor of phonetics

0:50:260:50:30

Henry Higgins attempts to pass off a Cockney flower girl as a Duchess.

0:50:300:50:35

Book and lyric-writer Alan Jay Lerner had been educated in England.

0:50:360:50:40

With a first-hand understanding of the British class system,

0:50:410:50:44

he realised how he and composer Frederick Loewe

0:50:440:50:47

could turn Shaw's play into a musical.

0:50:470:50:50

Mary Martin, as stellar a name as Ethel Merman at the time,

0:50:530:50:57

was asked to play Eliza Doolittle, the female lead.

0:50:570:51:01

But Martin turned the role down.

0:51:010:51:03

Then they happened to see an import from Shaftesbury Avenue.

0:51:040:51:07

A comedy about the bright, young things of the 1920s.

0:51:070:51:11

In The Boy Friend was a young British singer

0:51:130:51:17

called Julie Andrews.

0:51:170:51:19

As Lerner recalled, "She radiated an indefinable substance

0:51:190:51:22

"that is the difference between talent and star."

0:51:220:51:25

Lerner and Loewe obviously did see something in Julie Andrews

0:51:270:51:31

and, by casting her as Eliza Doolittle,

0:51:310:51:33

they were delivering the ultimate snub to Mary Martin.

0:51:330:51:37

It was almost like they were saying, "We don't need you, Mary Martin.

0:51:370:51:40

"We can take an unknown and make her into a star,"

0:51:400:51:43

and that's what makes My Fair Lady so interesting.

0:51:430:51:47

George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion wasn't just happening on stage.

0:51:470:51:50

In casting Julie Andrews, Lerner, Loewe and the director Moss Hart

0:51:500:51:54

were attempting their own Pygmalion transformation in real life.

0:51:540:51:59

Eliza Doolittle is a challenging, demanding role,

0:52:020:52:06

and in rehearsals Julie Andrews struggled.

0:52:060:52:09

Her fellow performers began to notice.

0:52:090:52:11

Co-star Rex Harrison said there wouldn't be a show

0:52:110:52:15

unless they got rid of her.

0:52:150:52:17

Andrews was convinced she would be replaced.

0:52:170:52:20

Moss Hart, however, decided on one last throw of the dramatic dice.

0:52:220:52:27

He dismissed the cast for 48 hours

0:52:270:52:30

and proceeded to give Miss Julie the acting lesson of her life.

0:52:300:52:34

SHE PRACTICES ENUNCIATION

0:52:350:52:38

Aye.

0:52:380:52:39

Erm... Oh, we are proud. Did you tell 'im I come in a taxi?

0:52:390:52:43

"If this is going to achieve anything at all," Hart said to her,

0:52:430:52:47

"it's going to be hurtful and difficult."

0:52:470:52:50

For 48 hours, he bullied, chided, encouraged

0:52:510:52:54

and eventually rebuilt her as a performer.

0:52:540:52:58

"You're saying it like a school girl!" he yelled at her.

0:52:580:53:01

"I want it angrier and louder!"

0:53:010:53:04

After two days, the character of Eliza was there.

0:53:050:53:08

Let's take, "Just you wait, 'enry 'iggins, just you wait."

0:53:080:53:12

A television re-creation from a few years later

0:53:120:53:15

gives us a vivid impression of these dramatic days,

0:53:150:53:18

with Julie Andrews' dialogue coach taking on the role

0:53:180:53:21

of the persistent director.

0:53:210:53:23

And now the fury. You hate him!

0:53:230:53:25

He's a bully. He's got you up all night.

0:53:250:53:27

-Just you wait...

-Bread and water.

-All right, all right!

0:53:270:53:30

-Just you wait, 'enry ' iggins, just you wait.

-Good. Now...

0:53:300:53:33

# You'll be sorry but your tears'll be too late

0:53:330:53:37

# You'll be broke and I'll have money

0:53:380:53:40

# Will I help you? Don't be funny

0:53:400:53:42

# Just you wait, 'enry 'iggins just you wait. #

0:53:420:53:45

Just You Wait comes at the point where Eliza is so frustrated

0:53:460:53:50

with the amount of bullying and misogyny she's getting from Higgins,

0:53:500:53:53

she just explodes with this wonderful torrent

0:53:530:53:57

of vitriolic imagination.

0:53:570:53:59

# Oh, 'enry 'iggins, just you wait

0:53:590:54:02

# Oooh, 'enry 'iggins

0:54:030:54:07

# Just you wait until we're swimmin' in the sea. #

0:54:070:54:10

To understand what Julie Andrews had to do to get full-on Cockney,

0:54:110:54:16

I'm honoured to be given a short lesson

0:54:160:54:18

by the West End's leading vocal coach, Mary Hammond.

0:54:180:54:22

There's a factor in a Cockney accent called twang

0:54:220:54:25

that slightly protects your voice and I could hear that in her voice

0:54:250:54:29

when she sang as well and that was quite natural to her, I think.

0:54:290:54:32

So is the twang like the, "Just you wait, 'enry 'iggins"?

0:54:320:54:36

Some people think it changes the shape of your vocal tract

0:54:360:54:39

so it makes a slightly different sound.

0:54:390:54:42

-COCKNEY ACCENT:

-Like that.

-HE IMITATES: Like that?

0:54:420:54:44

When she worked with her teacher on the "Just you wait, 'enry",

0:54:450:54:49

and the anger, she used an awful lot of consonants so you actually

0:54:490:54:53

have to watch that you don't get tense when you do that.

0:54:530:54:56

-EMPHASIS ON CONSONANTS:

-But the ability better spit out words.

0:54:560:54:59

Actually, if you say... I'm going to get you to do it.

0:54:590:55:02

Put your hand just here, where it is soft,

0:55:020:55:04

which is where your diaphragm is connected.

0:55:040:55:07

-Say your own name.

-Neil Brand.

0:55:070:55:09

Neil... Say it strongly, Quite strongly here.

0:55:090:55:12

Neil Brand.

0:55:120:55:13

-Can you feel a little push?

-Oh, yes.

0:55:130:55:16

So consonants link with supporting the voice naturally

0:55:160:55:19

so you're trying to find as many things you can do

0:55:190:55:22

as part of a performance that come under the label

0:55:220:55:25

of technique that your body already can do.

0:55:250:55:27

Thinking about that song, "Just you wait, 'enry Higgins."

0:55:270:55:31

The only thing is, you have to then watch that you don't divide it up

0:55:310:55:35

so it doesn't make any sense.

0:55:350:55:37

# Oooh, 'enry 'iggins.

0:55:370:55:41

# And you get a cramp a little ways from me

0:55:410:55:45

# When you yell you're going to drown

0:55:450:55:47

# I'll get dressed and go to town

0:55:470:55:49

# Oh, ho, ho, 'enry 'iggins

0:55:490:55:51

# Oh, ho, ho, 'enry 'iggins

0:55:510:55:54

# Just you wait. #

0:55:540:55:56

For me, this is what makes a star performance in a musical.

0:55:560:56:01

It's not just technical singing ability,

0:56:010:56:03

it's not just acting ability,

0:56:030:56:05

it's the ability to fuse the two into the moment.

0:56:050:56:09

To use the music to rise up from the text you're working from

0:56:090:56:13

and make every single one of us in the audience

0:56:130:56:16

feel what you're feeling.

0:56:160:56:18

And Julie Andrews does it with such charisma.

0:56:180:56:22

# But all I want is 'enry 'iggins' 'ead. #

0:56:240:56:29

For theatre-goers who remember the 1950s,

0:56:320:56:35

the role of Eliza will always belong to Julie Andrews.

0:56:350:56:38

Before she was Mary and Maria,

0:56:380:56:41

Julie Andrews was Eliza Doolittle.

0:56:410:56:44

Something forgotten by later generations

0:56:440:56:47

because when the film was made, she lost the role to Audrey Hepburn.

0:56:470:56:51

Julie Andrews' star status was sealed on the 30th of April, 1958,

0:56:530:56:58

at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, when My Fair Lady had

0:56:580:57:01

its London premiere with the same leads as the Broadway production.

0:57:010:57:05

It was a glittering and regal affair.

0:57:060:57:09

And this London run lasted for over five years -

0:57:100:57:13

Brits loving it just as much as their American counterparts.

0:57:130:57:17

In some ways, My Fair Lady represents

0:57:210:57:23

the peak of the golden age of musical theatre.

0:57:230:57:26

As the audience streamed out of here after the London opening,

0:57:260:57:29

they must have thought musicals couldn't get any better than this.

0:57:290:57:33

What they couldn't know was just over the horizon

0:57:330:57:35

was a new generation of shows that would embrace the here and now,

0:57:350:57:39

whose stories would be deeper, whose music would be more experimental.

0:57:390:57:43

As it turned out, musical theatre was just getting going.

0:57:430:57:46

Next time, I'll show how West Side Story...

0:57:480:57:51

# Something's coming, something good

0:57:510:57:54

..takes the musical in a new, contemporary direction...

0:57:540:57:57

# Something's coming... #

0:57:570:57:58

It looks real, the confrontation between these two gangs.

0:57:580:58:04

There was some level of reality to it.

0:58:040:58:07

..I'll tell the story behind the great British blockbuster Oliver...

0:58:070:58:12

# I'm reviewing

0:58:120:58:15

# The situation

0:58:150:58:17

# Can a fella be a villain all his life? #

0:58:170:58:21

..and I'll meet the artists who combined music and dance

0:58:210:58:24

as never before.

0:58:240:58:26

Series in which composer Neil Brand explores how musical theatre evolved over the last 100 years to become today's global phenomenon. Neil hears the inside story from leading composers and talent past and present, and recreates classic songs, looking in detail at how these work musically and lyrically to captivate the audience.

In the first episode, Neil finds out how the modern shape of the musical was established through a series of pioneering works, from Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's Show Boat in the 1920s with its bold take on America's racial divide and innovative use of songs that further the narrative, to Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's My Fair Lady, which made a star of Julie Andrews in the late 1950s. Neil also reveals the songwriting secrets of some much-loved numbers, including Ol' Man River, Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin', and If I Loved You.


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