Something's Coming Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand


Something's Coming

Neil explores how a new generation of composers transformed musical theatre by embracing more gritty, challenging subjects, from West Side Story to Oliver!


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Broadway, New York.

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Home of the modern musical, with its seamless blend of story and song.

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A form that was safely established by the 1950s.

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Too safely, perhaps.

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Post-war Broadway was still dominated by composers like

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Rodgers and Hammerstein and Irving Berlin.

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The pioneers of musical theatre were now its elder statesman.

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It was time for an injection of fresh blood and fresh ideas.

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# I like to be in America

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# OK by me in America... #

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In this programme, I'll see how a new generation brought about

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a Golden Age of musical theatre.

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Pop genius Lionel Bart writes a British blockbuster

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and gives us one of the musical's all-time great characters.

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# I'm reviewing the situation

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# I'm a bad 'un and a bad 'un I will stay. #

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Broadway's Jewish writers turn their own troubled history...

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-# Tradition! #

-..into a show stopping hit.

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# I wouldn't have to work hard

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# Daidle deedle daidle Daidle daidle deedle... #

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And composer Stephen Sondheim takes songs to a new level

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inviting audiences to engage with sophisticated adult emotions.

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# Where are the clowns?

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# Send in the clowns... #

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This is the story of how musical theatre grew up...

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# Every single step he takes... #

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..became more relevant, bringing us shows,

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subjects and crucially songs that reflected the modern world.

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Shows that dug deeper than ever before into the idea of what

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was universal - our hopes, our dreams, our joys, our fears.

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Shows that spoke to all of us.

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# Do I really have to mention

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# She's

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# The one! #

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The seeds of the musical revolution weren't sown on Broadway,

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but just a couple of blocks away on the back streets

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of New York's Upper West Side.

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In the 1950s, the city's newest immigrant community,

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Hispanics, rubbed shoulders with Jews, Italians and Irish.

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This heady mix of cultures moved to its own beats,

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stoked by the recent arrival of rock and roll.

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The result was something completely new,

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a cacophony unique to this city.

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SIREN WAILS IN BACKGROUND

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But this dynamic cultural melting pot was riven by ethnic

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tensions and growing gang violence.

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Juvenile delinquents, the music of the street, bloodshed and racism.

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Not obvious source material for a Broadway musical.

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Or not until now.

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Jerome Robbins was a director and choreographer who'd created

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dance sequences for Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Irving Berlin.

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He'd long wanted to do a modern musical version of Romeo And Juliet.

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And in 1955 he realised he'd found the perfect way to update it.

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But it wouldn't be called Romeo And Juliet.

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This show was going to be set on the mean streets of New York.

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Its name would be West Side Story.

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The problem of intolerance and the price one has to pay for

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having it in one's culture is an enormous one and a tragic one.

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And that is the subject of West Side Story.

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Robbins' reimagined star-crossed lovers are

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called Tony and Maria.

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Young kids from different ethnic backgrounds,

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thwarted in love by two warring gangs.

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In West side Story's famous prologue, the two gangs,

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the Sharks and the Jets, are street punks, they're teenagers.

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Not something seen before in musical theatre.

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They're moving through the meaner streets of New York to some

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very cool sounds, not heard before.

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FINGERS CLICK IN TIME TO MUSIC

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And then, all of a sudden, these street punks are ballet dancers.

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All very innovative and very risky.

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Robbins was a talented choreographer

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but he wasn't a writer or a composer.

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He needed a gang of his own.

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He recruited composer Leonard Bernstein...

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..and playwright Arthur Laurents.

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With the addition of lyricist Stephen Sondheim,

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another Hammerstein protege,

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and producer Hal Prince, the team was in place.

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Prince quickly realised that his slightly anxious colleagues

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were onto something.

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WHISTLE BLOWS SHRILLY

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We arrived at Lenny's apartment and Lenny played the piano.

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And Steve turned the pages and sang some of the lyrics,

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and Lenny played.

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And he was very nervous, so he played very loudly.

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From the get-go, once we were in it,

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I thought this is one of the most exciting experiences of my life.

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I could feel it.

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Best known as a conductor,

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Bernstein was building his reputation as

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a composer whose repertoire ranged from classical to popular music.

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His gift for creating character and mood could be heard in

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a song in which Tony, the hero,

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has a premonition that his life's about to change.

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# Could be!

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# Who knows?

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# There's something due any day I will know right away

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# Soon as it shows

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# It may come cannonballing down through the sky

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# Gleam in its eye bright as a rose! #

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For me, the whole feel of West Side Story is very much set

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by this third number, Something's Coming, sung by Tony.

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It's an edgy song.

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Edgy rhythmically.

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You've got this strange three-beat...

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# Oom, pah, pah. Oom, pah, pah, oom pah, pah... #

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And that melody is very spiky.

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This character is going somewhere,

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he doesn't know where he's going to go.

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And the song, too, is making us uncertain

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because of the way it's leading us through.

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Much more recognisable kind of rhythm, there.

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# Yah-ba-da-ba-dah, dag-gah-da-dun Dub-ba-da-dun, dub-ba-da-bam... #

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It feels really sparky, full of energy.

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You can feel muscle power.

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# I've got a feeling there's a miracle due, gonna come true

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# Coming to me...! #

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But then when it goes to the next section,

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which is the proper excitement,

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it does this...

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PLAYS RHYTHM ON PIANO

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Now that is a rhythm we know.

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It's like a chase, and I think it's Tony's heart.

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I think he is pounding with excitement now.

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# Could it be?

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# Yes, it could

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# Something's come here Something good

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# If I can wait!

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# Something's coming I don't know what it is

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# But it is gonna be great... #

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Now it's almost as if the next section could have been

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written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.

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It is so lyrical.

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# Around the corner

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# Or whistling down the river

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# Come on, deliver

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# To me...! #

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And for a street boy in New York to get lyrical like that,

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he has had an epiphany.

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And that's what makes this song.

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There's the peak.

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And then we go back into the song again

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as we've already heard it.

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And it's like, for a moment,

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a flower has opened up in the middle of this man's life.

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It's quite a tough number to play, I have to say.

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Is it a tough number to sing?

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Yes and no.

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I think that the genius of Bernstein's writing is that

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emotionally it gives you everything.

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So you don't necessarily have to sort of over emote, or create

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sort of how he's feeling at this point

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and how he's feeling at another point. It's all there.

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# It's only just out of reach

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# Down the block, on a beach

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# Maybe tonight... #

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West Side Story opened on Broadway in 1957.

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Followed by the hit film version where the widescreen shows

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off Robbins' dance sequences to stunning effect.

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# Better get rid of your accent

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# Life can be bright in America

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# If you can fight in America

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# Life is right in America

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# If you're all white in America... #

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Grover Dale appeared in the original stage cast as Snowboy -

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a member of the Jets gang.

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It looks real.

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The confrontation between these two gangs.

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It wasn't presentational.

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It was, there was some level of reality to it.

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That was our crash course in musical theatre.

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Jerome Robbins was known as quite a hard task master.

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How did you find him to work with?

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How did he extract out of you what he needed?

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Yes, he scared the shoot out of me!

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You know, I remember the moment,

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watching the clock when rehearsals would end.

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And out the door.

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And then in the morning waking up thinking,

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"Oh, my God, I've got to go back there."

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In the 1961 film version of the musical, it's easy to see how

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Robbins' choreography works with Bernstein's rhythms.

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# Shhh! #

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Cool it, A-rab. Cool it! Cool it!

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The dancers had to be versatile

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and this scene featuring the Cool dance shows just how tough

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the routines were.

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HE LAUGHS MANIACALLY

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-The Cool dance?

-Yeah.

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We had to learn six different versions of that dance.

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We had to remember... He'd say, "Now go back to version four."

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And you had to be able to deliver that.

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By the time he did the movie,

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he's had two or three years of living with this project and this

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choreography is even better than what he did for Broadway.

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It's just astonishing.

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Jerry's choreography elevated the whole thing into some

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artistic plateau that was extraordinary.

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Lenny's music did similarly so the entire thing...

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It's almost like what Shakespeare did...

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..with Romeo And Juliet.

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These guys did that with words, music and dance.

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# Pah! #

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When West Side Story premiered in London in 1958,

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the effect was explosive.

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In the audience was a young composer, Leslie Bricusse,

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who would go on to become one of the most successful figures in

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British musical theatre.

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West Side definitely was a game changer

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for the musical.

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Did it feel...?

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It was unlike any other show.

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I mean, there's never been another show like West Side Story.

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You know, it's a sort of semi-symphonic in a way,

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semi-operatic.

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But I can't think of another show that had the impact that that did.

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West Side Story's exhilarating mix of the symphonic and the

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streetwise was in sharp contrast to the escapist musicals filling

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many British theatres at the time.

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Productions like The Boy Friend and Salad Days with their rather

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well-to-do characters and whimsical situations.

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Back in the day, I was musical director

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for a national tour of Salad Days.

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One particular lyric is burnt onto my memory - "Aren't I clever?

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"No-one ever saw such a saucy saucer."

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When Jerome Robbins was shown some of the lyrics from the show,

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his response was short and sweet.

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"You're kidding?!"

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These shows seemed out of step as Britain entered an age in

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which the dominant cultural figures were increasingly young and

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working class.

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# Shake with the caveman... #

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A key player on this new scene was Lionel Bart,

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already enjoying success as a songwriter for acts like

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Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard.

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# Fings ain't wot they used t'be... #

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But Bart wasn't just a three-minute wonder.

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He'd already tried his hand at musical theatre,

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providing songs for Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'be -

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a comedy about cockney lowlife characters.

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Proud of his own working-class East End roots, Bart grew up

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fascinated by rowdy music halls,

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street entertainers and Yiddish theatre.

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In 1959, Bart began work on his masterpiece -

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a musical based on Dickens' Oliver Twist.

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This would be a tale of street gangs, murder, poverty,

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prostitution.

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As tough as anything in West Side Story.

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# ..the drinks are on the house

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# Consider yourself our mate... #

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But Bart would turn this dark material into

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a musical that had everyone joining in.

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# ..after some consideration we can state

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# Consider yourself one of us... #

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It's well-nigh impossible to listen to this immortal song

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without breaking into a little bit of a cockney swagger.

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It's music hall, but it's also pop.

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And it is so inclusive, it welcomes in you and me.

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This is Lionel Bart's version of London.

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# ..be lah-di-dah and uppity

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# There's a cup-o'-tea for all... #

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"Nobody tries to be lah-di-dah or uppity,

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"there's a cup-o'-tea for all."

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And I think if this song was being broadcast everywhere,

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across this market, anywhere you like to think of,

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everybody would probably join in.

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But as Bart worked on the story of Oliver, the Artful Dodger and

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thief master Fagin, the weight was all on his shoulders.

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Unlike the West Side Story team, he was writing the music,

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lyrics and book, or script, entirely by himself.

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This rather anonymous building in West London is the home of

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the Lionel Bart Foundation and the Lionel Bart archive,

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which, I have to say is a treasure trove.

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In developing even a single number like Consider Yourself,

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Bart went through multiple titles.

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And it's his notebooks and musical scores which give us

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a unique insight into this evolving process.

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You hardly ever get a chance to see a great composer thinking.

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These are Lionel Bart's original notes for Oliver.

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Now, what he's done is he's gone through the story and found the

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sort of hot spots, found the points

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where he knows songs are going to go.

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So there's a couple here we know already - Oliver - obviously,

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Boy For Sale. A number to begin with called Gruel.

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Which, of course he's actually crossed it out and written

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Food, Glorious Food.

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So, from first ideas, to this.

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A much more fleshed out document.

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And you can really see that he's got a handle on where he's going

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now with how the songs are working with the characters.

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And there's a number that Oliver sings called

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I'm Going To Seek My Fortune.

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Now we come to the next document which is the actual dialogue

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being fleshed out, going into songs.

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This is where it gets really interesting,

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because no we're into proper musical theatre territory.

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And we're heading down towards the number.

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Dodger finishes off his line saying, "Come on, me old pork sausage.

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"We're going where the going is good."

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So we're no longer off to seek our fortune,

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we're going where the going's good.

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Except, we're not, are we?

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We're going to this final draft and the new version in which this

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has become Consider Yourself.

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It is his hymn to the working class.

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London embracing Oliver.

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This is where Oliver has got to end up, the place where in Bart's

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mind it's the best place in the world to be.

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Consider yourself one of US.

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# Consider yourself our mate

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# We don't want to have no fuss... #

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# For after some consideration we can state

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-# Consider yourself

-Consider yourself

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# One of us! #

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When Oliver premiered in the West End in 1960,

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it took curtain call after curtain call.

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Well we went to the first night of Oliver because we were

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friends of Lionel's.

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And I knew he had a good one.

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And Lionel had the ability to write a commercial song in a score...

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..which very few people have.

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But it wasn't Oliver himself who stole the show.

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Or even the Artful Dodger.

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It was a character who shared Bart's own Jewish background -

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Fagin, the veteran thief.

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Dickens' Fagin is violent and manipulative.

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After all, the grasses up Nancy to Bill Sykes knowing perfectly

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well what the outcome's likely to be.

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Bart's Fagin is much more sympathetic.

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But that doesn't mean that he's made him softer or more sentimental.

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If anything, he's enriched him,

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creating one of the great characters of musical theatre.

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And it's the songs that do a lot of that work.

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Robert Lindsay has played Fagin on the West End stage

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and he's going to help me recreate

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one of the character's great musical moments.

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# I'm reviewing the situation

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# Can a fella be a villain all his life?

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# All my trials and tribulations

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# Better settle down and get myself a wife

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# And a wife will cook and sew for me

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# And come for me and go for me

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# And go for me and nag at me

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# The finger she will wag at me

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# The money she will take from me

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# A misery she'll make of me!

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# I think I'd better think it out again. #

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If you don't love Fagin before he's sung Reviewing The Situation,

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you sure will afterwards.

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It's a beautiful song because it's full of

0:21:160:21:18

so many different musical genres.

0:21:180:21:21

There's Jewish klezmer music, which is that wonderful kind of

0:21:210:21:23

keening sound, with the clarinet and the violin.

0:21:230:21:26

But it's also a music hall song.

0:21:260:21:28

Just like Consider Yourself, it's a crowd-pleaser.

0:21:280:21:31

And every time he reviews the situation,

0:21:310:21:33

the music picks him up and whips him off

0:21:330:21:35

to a worse case scenario, every time.

0:21:350:21:37

# I'm reviewing this situation

0:21:410:21:47

# I must quickly look up ev'ryone I know

0:21:470:21:51

# Titled people

0:21:510:21:53

# With a station

0:21:530:21:54

# And then help me make a real impressive show!

0:21:540:21:58

# I will own a suite at Claridges and run a fleet of carriages

0:21:590:22:04

# And wave at all the duchesses

0:22:040:22:05

# With friendliness as much as is

0:22:050:22:07

# Befitting of my new estate

0:22:070:22:09

# "Good morrow to you, magistrate...!" #

0:22:090:22:12

HE LAUGHS

0:22:120:22:14

Oh, God.

0:22:140:22:16

# I think I better think it out again. #

0:22:160:22:20

OK, so it's been a laugh up until now.

0:22:210:22:24

And now the song is going to twist us round and show us some reality.

0:22:240:22:29

The only time in the show that Fagin ever opens up about the

0:22:290:22:33

realities of growing old and dying alone.

0:22:330:22:36

He doesn't do it to any other character - he does to us.

0:22:360:22:40

And he does it in this song.

0:22:400:22:42

And he does it in a moment in the song which is beautiful in

0:22:420:22:45

and of itself, it's a point at which his voice goes really high.

0:22:450:22:50

And it sounds rabbinical, it sounds like an ancient Jewish cry.

0:22:500:22:55

And then he's going to come back into reviewing the situation and

0:22:550:22:59

the old rogue will come smiling through

0:22:590:23:02

and we know that no matter how dark

0:23:020:23:04

the rest of the story is going to get,

0:23:040:23:07

Fagin will probably be all right.

0:23:070:23:10

# What happens when I'm 70?

0:23:140:23:17

# Must come a time...70

0:23:190:23:23

# When you're old and it's cold

0:23:230:23:25

# And no-one cares if you live or you die

0:23:250:23:29

# Your one consolation's the money

0:23:320:23:35

# You may have put by

0:23:350:23:38

# I'm reviewing the situation

0:23:410:23:46

# I'm a bad 'un and a bad 'un I will stay.

0:23:460:23:50

# You'll be seeing no transformation

0:23:500:23:53

# But it's wrong to be a rogue in ev'ry way... #

0:23:540:23:56

So, Robert, how did you play Fagin? Is Fagin in the music?

0:23:590:24:03

Yeah, but you can hear the Jewishness in it as well and

0:24:030:24:06

the lyricism of it. And you can hear the violins, you know. It's...

0:24:060:24:11

And that's when...

0:24:110:24:12

I played it with a London accent when I started it.

0:24:120:24:16

And then but slowly it started coming into something else.

0:24:160:24:19

And then blending.

0:24:190:24:20

You couldn't help it. It just happened.

0:24:200:24:23

I mean, I literally one night, I was Jewish.

0:24:230:24:26

So, in Dickens, Fagin is heading off to prison and the gallows.

0:24:260:24:31

In Bart's Oliver, Fagin's reviewing the situation, he's got options.

0:24:310:24:36

He's taken the Dickens thing and just, it's the people he knows.

0:24:360:24:39

It's the world he knows.

0:24:390:24:41

And of course that's what the show does.

0:24:410:24:44

I mean, it lets you into characters that you think,

0:24:440:24:47

"I don't think I really should be liking this person."

0:24:470:24:50

I mean you certainly don't like Bill Sykes...

0:24:500:24:52

and Nancy, we adore.

0:24:520:24:55

And Fagin, we like him and then we don't like him

0:24:550:24:58

and then when you get to Reviewing,

0:24:580:25:01

we think, "Oh, poor little thing," you know? That's...

0:25:010:25:05

So it's a real rollercoaster ride.

0:25:050:25:07

The Broadway production of Oliver opened in 1963.

0:25:140:25:18

American audiences responded enthusiastically to Bart's score -

0:25:180:25:21

which won a Tony award -

0:25:210:25:23

to his inclusive depiction of Dickens's London,

0:25:230:25:26

and to his sympathetic Fagin.

0:25:260:25:29

It was an unprecedented hit for a modern British show.

0:25:290:25:32

But Broadway's Jewish community, which had more or less invented

0:25:360:25:40

the art from of the musical, was about to unveil its own masterwork.

0:25:400:25:44

From Jerome Kern to Richard Rodgers

0:25:460:25:49

and West Side Story's own Jerome Robbins,

0:25:490:25:52

many of the most prominent creators of musicals were of Jewish descent.

0:25:520:25:57

But until now, they'd kept their own culture out of the spotlight.

0:25:570:26:01

The pressure on immigrants to be American meant that the one story

0:26:080:26:12

that Broadway's Jews hadn't told was their own.

0:26:120:26:15

# To life, to life, l'chaim... #

0:26:150:26:19

But the Second World War had marked a watershed.

0:26:190:26:22

The Holocaust had been followed by the creation of the state of

0:26:220:26:25

Israel and Jewish Americans had become more assertive about

0:26:250:26:29

their identity and ancestry.

0:26:290:26:30

-Drinks for everybody.

-What's the occasion?

0:26:300:26:33

Reflecting this change, composer Jerry Bock,

0:26:330:26:36

lyricist Sheldon Harnick and writer

0:26:360:26:38

Joseph Stein optioned a series of stories about a Jewish dairy

0:26:380:26:43

farmer eking out a living in late 19th-century rural Russia.

0:26:430:26:47

Bock and Harnick had worked together since 1956, scoring

0:26:490:26:53

a hit 1959 with a political musical, called Fiorello!

0:26:530:26:58

They hoped Tevye, the dairy farmer,

0:26:580:27:01

would be the source material for another success.

0:27:010:27:04

But to give it their best shot they joined forces with the

0:27:040:27:07

hottest director on Broadway, Jerome Robbins.

0:27:070:27:10

We went to him and told him what we wanted to do.

0:27:140:27:17

And we were thrilled by his response because he told us when

0:27:170:27:21

he was six years old

0:27:210:27:23

his parents took him to Poland where their forefathers came from.

0:27:230:27:28

And then in World War II,

0:27:280:27:31

when he learned that the Nazis were exterminating these little villages

0:27:310:27:34

such as he had visited, and here we were giving him the chance to

0:27:340:27:38

put that culture back on the stage, to revive it, give it life again,

0:27:380:27:43

that he became a man obsessed with doing that.

0:27:430:27:46

The show became titled Fiddler On The Roof...

0:27:480:27:51

..and it reunited Jerome Robbins

0:27:540:27:57

with another West Side Story alumnus -

0:27:570:27:59

producer Hal Prince.

0:27:590:28:01

During the course of our meeting,

0:28:030:28:06

Jerry, Sheldon, Jerry Bock, Joe Stein and I, in a room,

0:28:060:28:14

night after night after night.

0:28:140:28:17

Jerry Robbins who was not a very articulate man.

0:28:170:28:20

He would say, "What's the show about?"

0:28:200:28:23

And we would all talk.

0:28:230:28:25

"Well, it's about Tevye and his five daughters and how do you

0:28:250:28:28

"marry them off, and yes, it's a pogrom."

0:28:280:28:30

And then the next night, the same question, the same answers,

0:28:300:28:33

same... Until finally Sheldon Harnick got pissed off and said,

0:28:330:28:40

"Oh, for God's sake, Jerry. It's about tradition."

0:28:400:28:43

And Jerry said, "That's the answer."

0:28:430:28:45

Now, mind you, he didn't know the answer or

0:28:450:28:47

he would have saved us many days of conversation.

0:28:470:28:51

But the minute he heard the word tradition, he knew the answer.

0:28:510:28:54

And tradition became the opening.

0:28:540:28:57

Tradition!

0:28:570:28:58

# Tradition

0:28:590:29:02

# Tradition

0:29:020:29:03

# Tradition

0:29:040:29:06

# Tradition

0:29:060:29:08

# Tradition!

0:29:080:29:09

# Tradition! #

0:29:100:29:12

It made the show as important to Japanese people,

0:29:120:29:16

to Hungarians, to French people, to Israelis,

0:29:160:29:21

to any place where there is a family unit and tradition.

0:29:210:29:28

# ..master of the house to have the final word at home?

0:29:280:29:32

# The papa, the papa...! #

0:29:320:29:36

Jerome Robbins did a huge amount of fieldwork while researching

0:29:360:29:40

the choreography for Fiddler On The Roof.

0:29:400:29:42

# Tradition...! #

0:29:420:29:44

Including attending numerous Jewish weddings.

0:29:440:29:47

# ..the way to make a proper home, a quiet home, a kosher home... #

0:29:470:29:51

He wanted to tap into the essence of Jewish ritual and the bonds

0:29:510:29:56

that tied communities together.

0:29:560:29:59

# The mama, the mama!

0:29:590:30:03

# Tradition!

0:30:030:30:05

# The mama, the mama!

0:30:050:30:08

# Tradition!

0:30:090:30:11

# At three I started Hebrew school

0:30:140:30:17

# At ten I learned a trade... #

0:30:170:30:19

Fiddler On The Roof's opening number shows the value

0:30:190:30:22

of Robbins' persistence.

0:30:220:30:24

# ..she's pretty

0:30:240:30:26

# The son, the son!

0:30:260:30:29

# Tradition! #

0:30:290:30:31

By the end of Tradition, the audience don't just see

0:30:310:30:35

what's at stake for these people, they identify with them.

0:30:350:30:38

Tradition. Without our traditions,

0:30:390:30:45

our lives would be as shaky as...

0:30:450:30:47

..as a fiddler on the roof.

0:30:500:30:52

PERFORMERS CHATTER

0:30:550:30:57

Composer Jerry Bock faced the challenge of creating

0:30:590:31:02

a musical landscape which would bring to life the fictional village

0:31:020:31:06

of Anatevka, and its central character Tevye.

0:31:060:31:10

He achieved this by harnessing Jewish traditional rhythms.

0:31:100:31:15

# If I were a biddy-biddy-rich

0:31:150:31:18

# Daidle, deedle-daidle, daidle man. #

0:31:180:31:21

We've already met the world of Fiddler On The Roof with Tradition,

0:31:230:31:26

now we're going to meet our narrator properly.

0:31:260:31:30

We may think we've already met him,

0:31:300:31:32

but we don't know the multi-faceted character who actually lurks beneath

0:31:320:31:36

that milkman's exterior, until he sings a classic "I want" song.

0:31:360:31:42

HE HUMS "IF I WERE A RICH MAN"

0:31:440:31:48

# All day long I'd biddy-biddy-bum

0:31:500:31:52

# If I were a wealthy man

0:31:520:31:56

# Wouldn't have to work hard

0:31:560:31:59

# Di-di, dai-dai, di-di-dai-dai, dya-dya-dum

0:31:590:32:02

# If I were a biddy-biddy rich

0:32:030:32:07

# Daidle, deedle-daidle, daidle man. #

0:32:070:32:11

I love that, "Yo-do-dee-dee-da", it's like scat singing,

0:32:110:32:16

but of course, it's klezmer music,

0:32:160:32:18

it's from deep in the East European heart of Jewish tradition.

0:32:180:32:22

But because there's a slightly smoky feel to it,

0:32:220:32:25

I think this is like New York clubland as well,

0:32:250:32:27

which reflects where the writers come from.

0:32:270:32:29

These are modern New York lads.

0:32:290:32:31

So Tevye is conversational in the way he's telling us

0:32:310:32:35

what he wants, but now his ambitions are going to grow.

0:32:350:32:39

# I'll build a...

0:32:390:32:42

# Big, tall house with rooms by the dozen

0:32:420:32:45

# Right in the middle of the town!

0:32:450:32:48

# A fine tin roof and real wooden floors below

0:32:480:32:53

# And there'd be one long staircase just going up

0:32:530:32:58

# And one even longer coming down!

0:32:580:33:00

# And one more leading nowhere, just for show

0:33:000:33:05

# I'd fill my yard...

0:33:070:33:10

# With chicks and turkeys and geese and ducks

0:33:100:33:14

# For the town to see and hear

0:33:140:33:17

# Squawking just as noisily as they can

0:33:170:33:21

# And each loud "bwark" and "quack" and "honk" and "honk"

0:33:210:33:25

# Will land like a trumpet on the ear

0:33:250:33:28

# As if to say, "Here lives a wealthy man"... #

0:33:280:33:33

But there's still more to find out about Tevye.

0:33:390:33:43

He's not just this avaricious dreamer.

0:33:430:33:46

Deep beneath that milkman exterior is a philosopher

0:33:460:33:51

and a deeply holy man.

0:33:510:33:54

And this is one of the things that makes Tevye so wonderful

0:33:540:33:57

as a character.

0:33:570:33:59

If he had the money, he wouldn't just sit around doing nothing.

0:33:590:34:02

He would study the holy books for seven hours a day.

0:34:020:34:06

Where would he study them?

0:34:060:34:07

Well, have a listen out, you'll hear this...

0:34:070:34:10

HE PLAYS SHORT PIANO MOTIF

0:34:100:34:11

When he talks about getting a seat by the wall.

0:34:110:34:14

He wants to go to Jerusalem.

0:34:140:34:15

He wants to go to the Holy Land, he wants to go to THEIR land.

0:34:150:34:19

# If I were rich

0:34:200:34:25

# I'd have the time that I lack

0:34:250:34:28

# To sit in the synagogue and pray

0:34:280:34:31

# And maybe get a seat by the Eastern Wall

0:34:310:34:36

# And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men

0:34:380:34:43

# Seven hours every day

0:34:430:34:45

# That may be the sweetest thing of all... #

0:34:480:34:55

The music is stretching behind him like elastic.

0:34:580:35:00

Sometimes it's conversational,

0:35:000:35:02

it's just allowing him to make the progress himself,

0:35:020:35:06

other times it's driving him, behind him,

0:35:060:35:09

into this wonderful celebration which will eventually erupt

0:35:090:35:13

into the end of the song and lift the whole audience with it.

0:35:130:35:16

# If I were a rich man

0:35:180:35:21

# Di-di, dai-dai, di-di-dai-dai, dya-dya-dum

0:35:210:35:26

# All day long I'd biddy-biddy-bum

0:35:260:35:29

# If I were a wealthy man

0:35:290:35:32

# I wouldn't have to work hard

0:35:320:35:35

# Di-di, dai-dai, di-di-dai-dai, dya-dya-dum

0:35:350:35:38

# Lord who made the lion and the lamb

0:35:380:35:42

# You decreed I should be what I am

0:35:420:35:45

# Would it spoil some vast, eternal plan

0:35:450:35:51

# If I were a wealthy man? #

0:35:510:35:59

Lyricist Sheldon Harnick's inspiration for

0:36:000:36:03

this classic song came from an evening of research in New York.

0:36:030:36:07

Jerry Bock and I learned that there was to be

0:36:080:36:11

a gala that the Hebrew Actors' Union was giving.

0:36:110:36:17

And we went to it looking for performers

0:36:170:36:19

who might be right for our show.

0:36:190:36:21

As part of the programme, a mother and a daughter came out and they

0:36:230:36:27

did a Hasidic song with no actual words, just Hasidic syllables.

0:36:270:36:31

Jerry Bock was enthralled by it.

0:36:310:36:33

And he went home and he worked all night long,

0:36:340:36:37

and he called me early the next morning, and he said,

0:36:370:36:40

"Shel, meet me at our publishers, I want to play you something."

0:36:400:36:43

So I met him at the publishers, and he sat down at the piano

0:36:430:36:47

and played me this "Ya-ba-da-ba, dum-dum, de-ba-de-ba, da-da-dum."

0:36:470:36:53

And it was wonderful, and I said,

0:36:530:36:56

"That's terrific, I can't wait to start working on a lyric for it.

0:36:560:37:00

"And in several of the Tevye's Daughters stories, Tevye says,

0:37:000:37:05

" 'If I were a Rothschild', and that fits your music."

0:37:050:37:09

I said, "We'll make it probably a little more general -

0:37:090:37:12

" 'If I were a rich man', not 'If I were a Rothschild', but that fits."

0:37:120:37:16

So I couldn't wait to get started on it, and Jerry said,

0:37:160:37:19

"When you write the lyric, leave a little of this Hasidic scat singing.

0:37:190:37:25

"Ya-ba-de-ba-da..." So I did.

0:37:250:37:27

I didn't know how to spell, "Ya-ba-de-ba-da", so...

0:37:270:37:30

NEIL LAUGHS

0:37:300:37:31

So I wrote, "Daidle-deedle, diga-diga, daidle-dum."

0:37:310:37:35

And some people sing that, but people who come out of the tradition

0:37:350:37:39

sing something that sounds much more authentic,

0:37:390:37:42

and they invent their own sounds.

0:37:420:37:45

Fiddler On The Roof opened on Broadway in September 1964

0:37:500:37:55

and went on to break all records.

0:37:550:37:57

Since then, it has become one of musical theatre's best-loved shows.

0:37:570:38:01

Given that it ends with a pogrom and a family in exile,

0:38:040:38:08

Fiddler On The Roof was another landmark in the evolution of

0:38:080:38:11

the musical, proof that the form could combine the harshest

0:38:110:38:14

of subjects with show-stopping songs to create a deeper experience.

0:38:140:38:19

WHISTLING AND CHEERING

0:38:190:38:21

# Money makes the world go around

0:38:270:38:29

# The world go around The world go around

0:38:290:38:31

# Money makes the world... #

0:38:310:38:33

Fiddler On The Roof's success showed that audiences were ready

0:38:330:38:36

to engage with more challenging material.

0:38:360:38:39

Two years later, Hal Prince himself directed Cabaret,

0:38:390:38:42

with songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb.

0:38:420:38:46

Its story of doomed love was set amongst the rise of fascism

0:38:460:38:49

in 1930s Berlin, but this didn't stop the show being a huge hit.

0:38:490:38:55

Broadway even flirted with the counterculture, with Hair in 1968.

0:38:550:39:00

# This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius

0:39:000:39:05

# The age of Aquarius... #

0:39:050:39:08

Now drugs, resistance to war and even nudity were deemed

0:39:080:39:12

acceptable fare for the musical.

0:39:120:39:15

Meanwhile, Hair's rock-influenced score

0:39:150:39:18

gave a taste of things to come.

0:39:180:39:19

# Aquarius... #

0:39:200:39:25

But despite their bolder themes,

0:39:250:39:27

these shows still offered primarily escapist entertainment.

0:39:270:39:30

Designed to give the audience a good night out and send them home

0:39:300:39:34

humming the big songs.

0:39:340:39:35

Then, in 1970, producer Hal Prince emerged again to take

0:39:370:39:40

the musical in a fresh direction,

0:39:400:39:42

and once more, he partnered up

0:39:420:39:44

with a West Side Story colleague,

0:39:440:39:46

this time its lyricist, Stephen Sondheim.

0:39:460:39:48

Since West Side Story, Sondheim had written the lyrics

0:39:500:39:53

for the huge hit Gypsy,

0:39:530:39:55

then fulfilled his ambition to compose AND write lyrics with

0:39:550:39:58

1962's Roman comedy A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.

0:39:580:40:02

Prince and Sondheim shared an enthusiasm for new challenges.

0:40:020:40:06

I hate to repeat myself,

0:40:080:40:10

simply because I get bored doing anything I've done before.

0:40:100:40:12

Well, I did traditional Rogers & Hammerstein musicals.

0:40:120:40:16

Gypsy, for example, is a traditional,

0:40:160:40:18

tell the story in chronological order,

0:40:180:40:22

West Side Story, in that sense, though it was innovative

0:40:220:40:24

in terms of stage techniques

0:40:240:40:25

and in terms of the blending of various elements,

0:40:250:40:28

was tell the story in chronological order.

0:40:280:40:30

Well, after you've done a couple of those,

0:40:300:40:32

-you start - or

-I

-started - getting restless.

0:40:320:40:34

And I was lucky enough to meet another man who feels exactly

0:40:340:40:38

the same way as I do, Harold Prince, and we formed this partnership.

0:40:380:40:41

And because we both enjoy exploring new territory, we do so.

0:40:410:40:46

Prince and Sondheim now created the very opposite

0:40:460:40:50

of a traditional escapist musical.

0:40:500:40:52

They held a mirror up to the lives of the audience -

0:40:520:40:54

modern New Yorkers.

0:40:540:40:56

LAUGHTER

0:40:560:40:58

Jenny, you're terrific. You're the girl I should have married.

0:40:580:41:02

Well, listen, I know a darling girl in this building you'll just love.

0:41:020:41:06

-What?

-When are you going to get married?

-What?

0:41:060:41:09

We developed a show about a young man who was single,

0:41:090:41:15

and his married friends,

0:41:150:41:18

and what is the behaviour of married people with their single friend?

0:41:180:41:25

He's complete enough. You're better off the way you are.

0:41:250:41:28

Yeah, that's what I hear.

0:41:280:41:29

Sometimes we do it humorously. Often we get competitive.

0:41:290:41:33

We're a married couple using the third person to get

0:41:330:41:38

some things said, and the third person, who's observing it, thinks,

0:41:380:41:42

"Oh, thank God I'm not married,

0:41:420:41:44

"cos these people have got a lot of trouble on their plate."

0:41:440:41:48

And that's what the show is about.

0:41:480:41:50

Now, listen, Bobby, you get yourself married.

0:41:500:41:52

See the ideas you're giving Dave?

0:41:520:41:54

Based on a series of one-act plays by the writer George Furth,

0:41:560:41:59

Company daringly rejected

0:41:590:42:02

a traditional narrative in favour of a series of vignettes.

0:42:020:42:06

It was a pioneering example of what's become known

0:42:060:42:09

as the concept musical.

0:42:090:42:10

The concept musical is one in which the emphasis is placed on

0:42:160:42:19

style and theme over plot.

0:42:190:42:23

In Company, scenes kind of melt into each other

0:42:230:42:27

and normal chronology is entirely abandoned.

0:42:270:42:29

This is because Sondheim and George Furth were after

0:42:290:42:32

something different - a slice of contemporary life.

0:42:320:42:36

Successful New Yorkers plagued by doubts.

0:42:360:42:40

And the theme of the show is the nature, value, and crucially,

0:42:400:42:45

the ambivalence of relationships.

0:42:450:42:49

Oh, Dave! Do you mean that?

0:42:490:42:52

Company's central character is Bobby,

0:42:520:42:55

an unmarried commitment-phobe observing the world

0:42:550:42:57

of his married friends, in a series of scenes

0:42:570:43:00

which may very well be happening only in his mind.

0:43:000:43:03

-That's not even funny.

-It has nothing to do with you.

0:43:050:43:08

Sondheim captured this psychological approach in music

0:43:080:43:12

full of angular sounds and less predictable melodies.

0:43:120:43:17

Bobby's songs subtly unveil the angst underlying

0:43:170:43:21

his apparent happiness.

0:43:210:43:23

# Someone to need you too much

0:43:240:43:29

# Someone to know you too well

0:43:290:43:31

# Someone to pull you up short

0:43:330:43:36

# And put you through hell... #

0:43:360:43:39

These are very modern feelings.

0:43:400:43:42

After all, traditionally, and particularly in the world of

0:43:420:43:45

the musical, marriage is looked upon as a positive outcome.

0:43:450:43:49

A happy ending. But not necessarily in real life.

0:43:490:43:53

And Sondheim's particular genius is to articulate that ambivalence

0:43:530:43:59

in stunning show tunes.

0:43:590:44:02

# Someone to crowd you with love

0:44:020:44:04

# Someone to force you to care

0:44:060:44:09

# Someone to let you come through

0:44:110:44:13

# Who'll always be there

0:44:130:44:16

# As frightened as you

0:44:160:44:18

# Of being alive

0:44:180:44:22

# Being alive

0:44:220:44:25

# Being alive

0:44:260:44:29

# Being alive. #

0:44:310:44:35

Company was the right musical at the right time.

0:44:370:44:41

It was garlanded with multiple Tony awards and established Sondheim

0:44:410:44:44

as the darling of high-brow theatre-goers.

0:44:440:44:47

But it was another three years before he wrote a song which would

0:44:470:44:50

reach out beyond the theatre, and which remains his best-known work.

0:44:500:44:55

It came in 1973's A Little Night Music.

0:44:550:44:58

The story's central character, originally played by Glynis Johns,

0:44:580:45:02

is Desiree Armfeldt, a glamorous actress

0:45:020:45:05

whose best days are behind her.

0:45:050:45:08

Desiree has realised late in the life that

0:45:080:45:10

a former lover is the man she should have married,

0:45:100:45:13

but now he's turned her down.

0:45:130:45:15

Joining me to perform Sondheim's lament for lost opportunity

0:45:160:45:19

is Frances Ruffelle.

0:45:190:45:22

# Isn't it rich?

0:45:260:45:29

# Are we a pair?

0:45:300:45:32

# Me here at last on the ground

0:45:340:45:38

# You in mid-air

0:45:380:45:40

# Send in the clowns

0:45:410:45:44

# Isn't it bliss?

0:45:490:45:51

# Don't you approve?

0:45:530:45:55

# One who keeps tearing around

0:45:570:46:00

# One who can't move

0:46:000:46:03

# Where are the clowns?

0:46:050:46:07

# Send in the clowns... #

0:46:090:46:12

Send In The Clowns, the quintessential Sondheim number -

0:46:160:46:19

ambivalent, ironic, wry, bitter, humorous.

0:46:190:46:25

Full of insight and self-revelation.

0:46:250:46:28

Of course it was written for the great Glynis Johns,

0:46:280:46:31

who had what Sondheim described as "a nice little voice", but he didn't

0:46:310:46:35

want to give her anything that would mean she had to

0:46:350:46:37

hold notes on, so everything was very short,

0:46:370:46:40

and also quite sharp, bright vowel sounds.

0:46:400:46:43

"Isn't it RICH? Are we a PAIR?"

0:46:430:46:47

It played up to her strengths both as a singer, but more importantly,

0:46:470:46:51

I think, as an actress.

0:46:510:46:52

# Just when I'd stopped

0:46:540:46:58

# Opening doors

0:46:580:47:02

# Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours

0:47:020:47:08

# Making my entrance again with my usual flair

0:47:090:47:13

# Sure of my lines

0:47:160:47:18

# No-one is there

0:47:200:47:26

# Don't you love farce?

0:47:300:47:33

# My fault, I fear

0:47:340:47:37

# I thought that you'd want what I want

0:47:370:47:43

# Sorry, my dear

0:47:430:47:46

# But where are the clowns?

0:47:480:47:50

# Quick, send in the clowns

0:47:510:47:56

# Don't bother, they're here. #

0:47:560:48:00

All the songs in Little Night Music are in three time,

0:48:040:48:07

or waltz time as we think of it.

0:48:070:48:08

You wouldn't automatically think this one is,

0:48:080:48:10

but it is - except for the moments

0:48:100:48:12

where Sondheim breaks his own rhythm.

0:48:120:48:15

You'll see there's a moment...

0:48:150:48:17

"Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours."

0:48:170:48:20

That actually goes to a fourth beat.

0:48:200:48:23

"Ya-da-da-dee-da-da, YA..."

0:48:230:48:26

And then on from there.

0:48:260:48:27

This is a technique he said he learnt from Leonard Bernstein

0:48:270:48:29

when he was working with him on West Side Story.

0:48:290:48:32

And it's a way of drawing attention to a song's key lines.

0:48:320:48:37

Then look at how complex this emotion is, it's beautiful,

0:48:370:48:43

and the song is poignant and lovely,

0:48:430:48:46

even though it's a bitter moment for this character.

0:48:460:48:50

Here we have what Sondheim has created out of musical theatre,

0:48:500:48:54

the ability to take more than one emotion, in fact,

0:48:540:48:57

a mix of emotions, and in a very sophisticated way,

0:48:570:49:01

give it to us as an audience in a way we really understand.

0:49:010:49:04

# Isn't it rich?

0:49:080:49:10

# Isn't it queer?

0:49:130:49:15

# Losing my timing this late in my career

0:49:170:49:22

# And where are the clowns?

0:49:240:49:26

# There ought to be clowns

0:49:280:49:32

# Well, maybe

0:49:330:49:37

# Next...year. #

0:49:370:49:42

While Sondheim and Prince's ventures into experimental musicals

0:49:550:49:59

were critically acclaimed,

0:49:590:50:01

their impact on a mainstream audience was comparatively limited.

0:50:010:50:05

But just two years later a protege of theirs would take the

0:50:060:50:11

idea of the concept musical and turn it into a record-breaking success.

0:50:110:50:15

Around midnight on a freezing night in 1974, a group of gypsies,

0:50:170:50:23

that's dancers who went from show to show, chorus line to chorus line,

0:50:230:50:27

assembled in a room on East 23rd Street.

0:50:270:50:30

Still sweating from the work they'd done earlier in the evening,

0:50:300:50:33

they had absolutely no idea what to expect.

0:50:330:50:37

They'd been summoned by a small team headed by choreographer

0:50:380:50:41

Michael Bennett.

0:50:410:50:42

After a quick workout, Bennett produced a tape recorder.

0:50:420:50:46

For the next 12 hours, they talked

0:50:460:50:48

and talked about their lives,

0:50:480:50:50

their hopes, their formative experiences,

0:50:500:50:53

and all night long the tape rolled.

0:50:530:50:57

As they spilled out, bleary-eyed onto the streets the following day,

0:50:570:51:01

the seeds of a Broadway sensation had been sown.

0:51:010:51:05

Michael Bennett had studied dance in his teens before dropping out

0:51:050:51:08

of high school to play the role of Baby John in the American and

0:51:080:51:11

European tours of West Side Story.

0:51:110:51:13

A career on Broadway followed, where Bennett experienced

0:51:140:51:17

first-hand the tough life of a chorus-line gypsy.

0:51:170:51:21

Five, six, seven, eight.

0:51:210:51:23

One, change.

0:51:230:51:24

Walk, walk.

0:51:240:51:26

Point, point, point.

0:51:260:51:28

-Flick-step.

-Baayork Lee was an old friend who Bennett recruited

0:51:280:51:31

to help plan an unflinching take on the reality behind musical theatre.

0:51:310:51:36

No hat, hat. No hat, hat.

0:51:360:51:39

Hat, hat, hat. Hold.

0:51:390:51:42

And your particular story became one of the songs

0:51:420:51:45

in the show specifically.

0:51:450:51:46

Can you tell us about that?

0:51:460:51:48

Well, Michael came to me and he said,

0:51:480:51:51

"I want to use your story in the show."

0:51:510:51:54

And I said, "Well, nobody wants to know about

0:51:540:51:56

"a short Asian that wants to be a ballerina."

0:51:560:51:59

And he said, "You never know."

0:51:590:52:01

We were going through group therapy

0:52:010:52:04

now that I think about it.

0:52:040:52:06

We would sit around, you know, and discuss what you did at four and

0:52:060:52:10

five and six and seven and eight,

0:52:100:52:12

and a lot of tears came, you know.

0:52:120:52:15

-I bet.

-Yes, because things happened at those ages.

0:52:150:52:19

We went all the way up until we got to New York

0:52:190:52:22

and that is the concept of the show.

0:52:220:52:25

# God, I hope I get it

0:52:280:52:29

# I hope I get it

0:52:290:52:31

# How many people does he need?

0:52:310:52:32

# How many people does he need?

0:52:320:52:34

# God, I hope I get it

0:52:340:52:35

# I hope I get it

0:52:350:52:37

# How many boys, how many girls?

0:52:370:52:39

# How many boys, how many...?

0:52:390:52:40

# Look at all the people!

0:52:400:52:42

# At all the people... #

0:52:420:52:43

Bennett had worked as a choreographer on Prince and

0:52:430:52:46

Sondheim's Company and its follow-up, Follies,

0:52:460:52:49

and he wanted his new work, christened A Chorus Line,

0:52:490:52:52

to have a similar confessional quality,

0:52:520:52:55

built around the revelation of a dancers' anxieties during

0:52:550:52:58

an audition process.

0:52:580:53:00

# God, I really blew it!

0:53:000:53:02

# I really blew it!

0:53:020:53:03

# How could I do a thing like that?

0:53:030:53:05

# How could I do a thing like...

0:53:050:53:06

# Now I'll never make it! #

0:53:060:53:08

To write the music, Bennett brought in Marvin Hamlisch,

0:53:080:53:12

an established film composer.

0:53:120:53:13

Hamlisch worked closely with the cast in workshops,

0:53:150:53:18

turning their stories into songs.

0:53:180:53:22

Marvin came in and he likes to doodle on the piano

0:53:240:53:28

and he said, "Well, just talk to me, Baayork."

0:53:280:53:30

Just the way I'm talking to you.

0:53:300:53:32

And he composed my personality.

0:53:320:53:37

-HE GASPS

-And that's what he did

0:53:370:53:39

with everyone. He would compose our personality.

0:53:390:53:42

So every time I spoke in the alternative scene or whatever,

0:53:420:53:46

I always had my theme song.

0:53:460:53:48

-Oh, that's fantastic.

-Yeah.

0:53:480:53:50

# Four foot ten

0:53:500:53:51

# Four foot ten

0:53:510:53:53

# That's the story of my life

0:53:530:53:55

# I remember when everybody was my size. #

0:53:550:53:59

Boy, was that great. But then everybody started moving up

0:53:590:54:02

and there I was, stuck at...

0:54:020:54:04

# Four foot ten

0:54:040:54:06

# Four foot ten. #

0:54:060:54:07

But I kept hoping and praying!

0:54:070:54:10

Having crafted confessional songs for each of the main characters,

0:54:100:54:14

Hamlisch saved his best for last,

0:54:140:54:17

a piece that would become one of musical theatre's most

0:54:170:54:20

unforgettable finales.

0:54:200:54:22

# One singular sensation

0:54:220:54:25

# Every little step she takes

0:54:250:54:28

# One thrilling combination

0:54:280:54:31

# Every move that she makes

0:54:310:54:35

# One smile and suddenly nobody else will do

0:54:350:54:41

# You know you'll never be lonely... #

0:54:410:54:42

Baayork was up for a spontaneous performance...

0:54:420:54:45

# One moment in her presence... #

0:54:460:54:49

..even if I couldn't quite remember the right key.

0:54:490:54:52

# For the girl is second best to none, son

0:54:520:54:59

# Ooh! Sigh!

0:54:590:55:00

# Give her your attention

0:55:000:55:02

# Do I really have to mention she's the one? #

0:55:020:55:10

How on earth does someone like Hamlisch manage to get

0:55:150:55:18

so much down into so little?

0:55:180:55:21

It's a beautiful riff, that, isn't it?

0:55:210:55:24

Yes.

0:55:240:55:25

That central riff is the key to One,

0:55:280:55:31

its clockwork feel driving home

0:55:310:55:33

how uniform and drilled the chorus line has to be.

0:55:330:55:36

# One singular sensation

0:55:380:55:41

# Every little step she takes... #

0:55:410:55:43

Richard Attenborough's film version stays faithful to Bennett's

0:55:450:55:48

staging using mirrors to stretch the line to infinity.

0:55:480:55:51

The individual dancers we've come to know intimately

0:55:550:55:58

now blend into an anonymous whole.

0:55:580:56:00

For Bennett, this was an ironic comment on musicals,

0:56:010:56:04

but for everyone else it was the ultimate show-stopping finale.

0:56:040:56:08

One day there was a line of black cars

0:56:130:56:18

and we went, "Oh, yeah, OK."

0:56:180:56:21

And there was Jackie Onassis,

0:56:210:56:23

there was Diana Ross,

0:56:230:56:25

Groucho Marx,

0:56:250:56:27

Lucille Ball.

0:56:270:56:29

HE CHUCKLES

0:56:290:56:31

The Chorus Line went on to become the longest-running

0:56:310:56:33

Broadway show ever,

0:56:330:56:35

a record it held for 14 years

0:56:350:56:37

until it was finally overtaken by Cats,

0:56:370:56:40

as the next generation of British musicals came to the fore.

0:56:400:56:43

All very ironic given A Chorus Line's humble group-therapy

0:56:450:56:49

workshop beginnings.

0:56:490:56:51

# Ooh! Sigh!

0:56:510:56:52

# Give her your attention

0:56:520:56:54

# Do I really have to mention...? #

0:56:540:56:57

Michael Bennett said, "I want people to walk out of the theatre

0:56:570:57:00

"and say, 'Those kids shouldn't be in a chorus line.'

0:57:000:57:03

"And I want people in the audience to go to other shows and really

0:57:030:57:07

"think about what's made that chorus."

0:57:070:57:09

It fades with them kicking.

0:57:100:57:13

That's it. That's the end of the show.

0:57:130:57:15

There are no bows. "I don't believe in bows."

0:57:150:57:19

Just the fade-out.

0:57:190:57:20

That's what a dancer's life is.

0:57:210:57:23

Next time, the rise of the mega-musical...

0:57:310:57:34

MUSIC: Look Down by Claude-Michel Schonberg

0:57:340:57:39

..how those singing cats and Eva Peron...

0:57:390:57:43

# Don't cry for me, Argentina... #

0:57:430:57:47

..help Andrew Lloyd Webber conquer the West End and Broadway...

0:57:470:57:52

# Sweet transvestite... #

0:57:520:57:53

..cult classics from The Rocky Horror Show...

0:57:530:57:56

# Transsexual

0:57:560:57:58

# Transylvania. #

0:57:580:58:01

# Got a fast connection so I don't have to wait... #

0:58:010:58:03

..to puppets behaving badly...

0:58:030:58:04

For porn!

0:58:040:58:06

MUSIC: Circle Of Life by Elton John and Tim Rice

0:58:060:58:10

..and why a songwriting renaissance and spectacular staging have

0:58:100:58:14

turned the modern musical into the greatest show on earth.

0:58:140:58:18

MUSIC: America by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein

0:58:210:58:26

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 second episode, Neil explores how a new generation of composers transformed musical theatre by embracing more gritty, challenging subjects, from the mean streets of 1950s New York in West Side Story, to the Dickensian London of British blockbuster Oliver!. Neil learns the stories behind Broadway hits Fiddler on the Roof and A Chorus Line, and celebrates the groundbreaking work of Stephen Sondheim. He also takes us step by step through the secrets of some classic numbers with the help of star performers Robert Lindsay and Frances Ruffelle.


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