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Irving Berlin’s America, Part II

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 I  (aired 12/28/2006)
Irving Berlin pulled himself up from poverty on New York’s Lower East Side to become America’s most famous and enduring songwriter. Born Israel Baline in Belarus, then part of the Russian empire, on May 11, 1888, he immigrated with his family to America at age five and later taught himself rudimentary piano while working as a singing waiter in a bar and brothel in New York’s Chinatown. By age twenty-three, he was the wunderkind of Tin Pan Alley with more than two hundred hit songs and hundreds more to come--songs like White Christmas, Easter Parade, and God Bless America. Who was Irving Berlin, and what does his music say about America?

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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