Broadway: The American Musical tells two stories: the 100-year history of musical theater and the story of its relationship to 20th-century American life. The six-part series begins with the immigrant experience at the turn of the century, when a melting pot of voices and styles gave rise to a popular new form of entertainment, and ends with today’s Broadway, where big-budget new productions and revivals of classic favorites compete side by side for box office success. Read episode descriptions.
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Peppered throughout are legendary moments in Broadway history: George Gershwin’s sojourn to Folly Island, where he began to compose his legendary score for Porgy and Bess; the thrill of Oklahoma!’s opening night; comedienne Fanny Brice’s heart-grabbing performance of “My Man.” From the titillating yet artful spectacle of The Ziegfeld Follies to Ethel Merman’s brassy rendition of “I’ve Got Rhythm,” and from Julie Taymor’s visionary staging of The Lion King to a behind-the-scenes look at Wicked’s opening night, the series enlightens, educates and offers unique insight into this truly American art form.
The first comprehensive documentary series on the history of the American musical created for television, Broadway: The American Musical is a co-production of Ghost Light Films, THIRTEEN, NHK, and the BBC in association with Carlton International. The series was produced and directed by Michael Kantor, whose credits include Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America, Give Me the Banjo and Quincy Jones: In the Pocket for the American Masters series, and hosted by Julie Andrews, Academy Award-winning star of stage, film and television – and public television’s unofficial “ambassador for the Broadway musical.”