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Week 1 of 6

Terms in this set (21)

A variety show featuring white performers wearing blackface. It was a popular 19th century form that caricatured blacks with comic and sentimental songs, skits, jigs, and shuffle dances. The performers were usually white entertainers dressed in colorful costumes with their faces blackened and their eyes and mouth enlarged by white and red make-up line.

America's first original musical theater genre, the minstrel show was born nearly 200 years ago. Although its existence is embarrassing to us today, for more than 40 years, it was one of the most popular forms of entertainment in America and around the world. For the first time, the minstrel show spawned European imitation of Americans, instead of the other way around. The minstrel show was also the ultimate source of truly American music, from ragtime to rock, and the precursor of the modern American musical.

I. First productions of American rather than European origin, popular during the middle decades of 19th century. Minstrelsy was the impersonation of Negro life & manners by white men in black face. It fashioned a romantic view of plantation/slavery life that never existed.

II. First form of musical theater to commission popular music specifically for the stage. It initiated the practice of big time show-biz.

A. Thomas D. Rice
B. Dan Emmett and the Virginia Minstrels
C. Edwin Christy and the Christy Minstrels
1. Variety entertainment
2. The Fantasia
3. A Burlesque

III. Songs of Minstrelsy
A. Plain lyrics set to simple melodies
B. Songs depended on repetition of a lively refrain
C. These songs survive today as folk songs

IV. Dances of Minstrelsy
A. The Cakewalk
B. The Walkaround

V. Composers of Minstrelsy
A. Dan Emmet composed "Dixie"
B. Stephen Foster composed "Oh, Susanna"
C. James Bland composed "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny"

VI. A. By the early 20th century, the minstrel's use of blackface began to limit their effectiveness.
B. This was a period of vast immigration from Eastern Europe. It was a time to stop mimicking blacks and start mimicking Germans, Jews, and Italians.
A musical revue is defined as a musical show consisting of skits, songs, and dances, often satirizing current events, trends, and personalities. It is also a stage presentation that originated in the early 19th centuries as a light, satirical commentary on current events. The word is French and in 19th Century Paris, the revue was originally a satirical entertainment of fashionable Parisian life that featured music, specialty acts and pretty girls. It was rapidly developed, particularly in England and the United States, into an amorphous musical entertainment, retaining a small amount of satire and partaking increasingly of the elements of vaudeville and the pageant. In the United States the revue—essentially an upscale vaudeville show—became noted for its extravagant staging and costumes and its display of showgirls. The best known of this type was the annual Follies (1907-c.1930) produced by Florenz Ziegfeld, which had as its chief rivals Earl Carroll's Vanities and George White's Scandals. Noël Coward was the pioneer of a more intimate revue-style in the interwar years. Elaborate showgirl revues and comedy acts, often of a satirical nature, are still popular in nightclubs and casinos.

1. A satirical entertainment
A. Fast & lively
B. Non book show
C. Musical numbers, comedy sketches, specialty routines
D. Utilizes a single unifying theme that services the idea of the show

2. Revue brings unity to variety revue is an outgrowth of
A. Minstrelsy: no relationship from one act to next
B. Vaudeville: sequence of self-contained independent acts
C. Burlesque: strength of individual moments & spectacles & extravaganzas

3. The concepts
A. Innocent exploitation of American women
B. American labor movement
C. Fundraiser

4. The major players
A. Florenz Ziegfeld
B. The Theatre Guild

5. The spectacular revue
A. Ziegfeld Follies (1907-1931) 23 editions
1. Glamour
2. Pace
3. Decency
4. Spectacle
5. Star name attractions

6. The intimate revue
A. Rejected glamour & splendor for simplicity, wit, satire, sophistication
1. Placed imagination over budget
2. Intellect over senses
3. Originality over a tried and true formula
4. More informal & casual in tone than spectacular revue

7. Intimate revue productions
A. The Garrick Gaieties (1925)
1. Fundraiser for Theatre Guild
2. 1st production that used music by Richard Rodgers & lyrics by Lorenz Hart. They created a mutually supportive complement of words & music replacing old song styles of arbitrarily matching sounds to musical notes
B. Pins and Needles (1937)
1. Based on the labor movement
2. Ran for 1108 performances a record held until Oklahoma! in 1943.

8. The role of Revue in Musical Theater
A. Refined the use of spectacle
B. Value of subtle, satirical comedy
C. Stimulated the supply of songwriters:
1. Irving Berlin
2. Rodgers & Hart
3. Cole Porter
4. George & Ira Gershwin
D. Raised the standards of artists