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Irving Berlin’s America, Part I

Here are some previous Think Tank programs that may be of interest.

The American Musical, Part 2  (aired 5/24/2007)
From Showboat to The Lion King, from Oklahoma to Chorus Line, the lights of Broadway burn brightly in the imaginations of millions of people around the world. The Broadway Musical is a unique 20th century art form, combining comedy and romance, music and dance. With mega-hits like Phantom of the Opera passing 8,000 performances, are we seeing a new golden age of the musical? Or are the corporate backed blockbusters squeezing out new creative voices? Who will join the ranks of Rodgers, Hart, Hammerstein and Sondheim? What do the themes of musicals tell us about the story of America?

The American Musical, Part 1  (aired 5/17/2007)
From Showboat to The Lion King, from Oklahoma to Chorus Line, the lights of Broadway burn brightly in the imaginations of millions of people around the world. The Broadway Musical is a unique 20th century art form, combining comedy and romance, music and dance. With mega-hits like Phantom of the Opera passing 8,000 performances, are we seeing a new golden age of the musical? Or are the corporate backed blockbusters squeezing out new creative voices? Who will join the ranks of Rodgers, Hart, Hammerstein and Sondheim? What do the themes of musicals tell us about the story of America?

Irving Berlin’s America, Part II  (aired 1/4/2007)
From Ragtime to Swing and from Broadway to Hollywood, Irving Berlin’s music defined American songwriting for more than half a century. Songs like "God Bless America," "There’s No Business Like Show Business," Cheek to Cheek" and "White Christmas." Fully half of his eight hundred and ninety-nine published tunes went on to become hits. Two hundred and eighty-two reached the top ten on the popular charts; thirty-five went to number one. Berlin’s music reflects an almost instinctive understanding of the culture and the early events of what has been called "the American century." His songs capture the heart of small town America and the brass of Broadway. Who was Irving Berlin? What is there about his music that still stirs and unites Americans?

The Fascinating Rhythm of George Gershwin  (aired 8/14/2003)
He was a child of the Jazz Age. The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, he grew up on the streets of Brooklyn and served an apprenticeship in Tin Pan Alley. He wrote music for Vaudeville acts, the musical comedy stage, the concert hall, and the Hollywood lot. And in the process, he created something few composers can claim--a new kind of music. This week Think Tank looks at the extraordinary life and phenomenal music of American composer George Gershwin.

Who Was John Philip Sousa?  (aired 7/3/2003)
The legendary John Philip Sousa composed the most famous piece of American music ever written - The Stars and Stripes Forever. This week, we examine Sousa the man, the composer and the promoter. Just who was the man known as "The March King?" And how is it that, almost 150 years after his birth, his music is still such an integral part of the American experience?


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