Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2004 - BROADWAY - THE GOLDEN AGE, semi interesting documentary

Rick McKay an enterprising fellow, bought himself a camera and on his own and with literally no camera crew put together this documentary on Broadway's supposed "golden years" roughly the period between the 1940's through the 1960's. 

McKay amazingly got a lot of Broadway performers to speak with him.  People like, Bea Arthur, Elizabeth Ashley, Carol Burnett, Carol Channing, Ben Gazzara, Robert Goulet, Uta Hagen, Julie Harris, Martin Landau, Angela Lansbury, Shirley MacLaine, Patricia Neal, Jerry Orbach, Jane Powell, Hal Prince, John Raitt, Chita Rivera, Gena Rowlands, Eva Marie Saint, Stephen Sondheim, Maureen Stapleton, Elaine Stritch, Tommy Tune, Gwen Verdon, Eli Wallach and Fay Wray.  Pretty impressive.

McKay also dug up a number of TV and film clips of some of the shows along with archival footage of New York and the theater district.

So what did I learn from watching this?  Mainly that the good old days are gone.  The older Broadway stars understandably long for a time when they were the center of attraction and the world seemed focused on their little niche of the entertainment business.  The creative talent is also gone, people like Richard Rogers, Jerome Robbins, George Abbot etc.  The theater has also worked hard to price itself out of affordable existence with their audiences.  Some ticket prices are now in excess of $400.00

Broadway - The Golden Age, is not a comprehensive history of Broadway but an entertaining overview of American theater if you have an interest in such things.

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