Broadway: The American Musical: Syncopated City
Sunday, October 14 at 10:00 p.m.
Gossip columnist Walter Winchell gave Broadway a nickname that becomes synonymous with all of New York: "It is the Big Apple, the goal of all ambitions, the pot of gold at the end of a drab and somewhat colorless rainbow."
With the advent of Prohibition and the Jazz Age, America convulsed with energy and change, and nowhere was the riotous mix of classes and cultures more dramatically on display than Broadway.
"There was this period in which everybody was leaping across borders and boundaries," says director/producer George C. Wolfe. "There was this incredible cross-fertilization, cultural appropriation."
Unique talents like the Marx Brothers and Al Jolson -- a Jewish immigrant and Prohibition's biggest star -- rocketed to stardom. The Gershwin brothers, the minstrels of the Jazz Age, brought a "Fascinating Rhythm" to an entire nation. Innovative songwriting teams like Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart ignited a new age of bright melodies and clever lyrics with the massive hit "Manhattan."
But as the Roaring Twenties came to a close, Broadway's Jazz Age suffered the one-two punch of the "talking picture" and the stock market crash, triggering a massive talent exodus to Hollywood and putting an end to Broadway's feverish expansion.