Musicals about America

Everyone knows about the stage musicals Hamilton, 1776, and perhaps George M!. Along with the movie adaption of 1776 (with William Daniels) and Yankee Doodle Dandy. These are great musicals to bring out on Independence Day but there are a few others some like the First Lady and Daughter Suites by Michael John LaChuisa you might of heard of since the First Daughter Suite came out in 2015 which sort of revived interest in the First Lady Suite. However there are a couple more musical that I know of one if a Pulitzer Prize winner and the other was a legendary flop.

The Pulitzer Prize winner is Of Thee I Sing from The Gershwin Brothers with a book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. This musical is a satirical look at politics in America, it inspired The Marx Brothers classic film Duck Soup. Sure this is from way back in 1931 so the plot is pretty strange in the musical a Presidential candidate Wintergreen runs on a “love platform” and they have a beauty pageant to select the who Wintergreen will fall in love with. This doesn’t turn out as expected as Wintergreen falls for another girl. It is worth looking for to listen to and a version was on television in the 70s so you can see it if you want as well. I found out about this as I was looking up musicals that won a Pulitzer Prize since I was in two of them back in high school.

The flop is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and is from Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner. It ran seven performances on Broadway. The musical tells the story of the White House from 1800-1900 and focuses on race relations. It came out in 1976 and the only time it was revived was in 1992 by the Indiana University Opera Theatre production and it also briefly ran at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. However this has been turned into a Choral that sort of is the only way that you can hear most of the music today in A White House Cantata. Since the Bernstein estate controls the licensing of performances of the cantata version, but refuses to allow the performance, recording, or publication of the original musical. In early versions it was a weird sort of meta-musical where the actors would comment on what was happening at the time when the show moved to Broadway they eventually settled on the idea that “America is a play always in rehearsal full of constant revisions” and dropped the commentary sections. Technically there is no cast recording available to listen to but some of the songs have had a second life notably “Take Care of This House” which was preformed at the Carter Inauguration and has been covered by many others.

Sure there is good chance that the film Independence Day will be on somewhere today so if you are interested take a listen to one of the several musicals listen about or watch some thing the help you celebrate Independence Day.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s