The Black Crook by playwright Charles M. Barras, is a musical comedy that opened on September 12, 1866 at Niblo's Garden in New York City. It was produced by William Wheatley, with music by George Bickwell and choreography by David Costa. The story is about the evil Count Wolfenstein who fell in love with a village girl named Amina. However, Amina was in love with someone else - Rodolphe. To get him out of the way, Count Wolfenstein schemed for Rodolphe to fall into the hands of Hertzog, a "crook-backed master of black magic." The production featured special effects and a dancing chorus starring prima ballerina Marie Bonfanti. The Black Crook ran a total of 475 performances before closing on January 4, 1868.
Gilbert & Sullivan
Sir Arthur Sullivan was a British conductor, teacher and composer who was especially known for his operettas. His successful collaborations with librettist Sir William Schwenk Gilbert (1836 - 1911) helped establish the English operetta. Gilbert and Sullivan's famous works are collectively known as the "Savoy Operas;" these are operettas that were (mostly) produced in London's Savoy Theatre. These include "Patience," "Thespis," "Trial by Jury," "The Sorcerer," "H.M.S. Pinafore," "The Pirates of Penzance," "Iolanthe," "Princess Ida," "The Mikado," "Ruddigore," "The Yeomen of the Guard," "The Gondoliers," "Utopia Limited" and "The Grand Duke."
George M. Cohan (1878 - 1942)
George Michael Cohan was a producer, performer and writer of musical comedies for Broadway. In 1904, his "Little Johnny Jones," featuring the song "The Yankee Doodle Boy," became his first successful musical comedy. His other well-received songs include "Over There" (received a Congressional Medal of Honor) and "Give My Regards to Broadway." He formed a partnership with producer and theater owner Sam Harris and together they produced several Broadway musicals. The movie "Yankee Doodle Dandy," which was released in 1942, was based on the life of Cohan.
Jerome Kern (1885 - 1945)
Jerome Kern was one of the composers who influenced the development of musical theater in America. His Show Boat premiered on December 27, 1927 at the Ziegfeld Theatre. It was based on the novel by Edna Ferber, with libretto by Oscar Hammerstein II. Show Boat ran a total of 572 performances. His other hits include the song "Smoke Gets In You Eyes," "The Song Is You" and "The Way You Look Tonight." He collaborated with librettist Guy Bolton and playwright Pelham Grenville (P.G.) Wodehouse on several musicals like Oh Boy! and Leave It To Jane. The 1946 film Till the Clouds Roll By was based on the life of Kern.
Cole Porter (1891 - 1964)
Cole Porter was another composer/lyricist who influenced American musical theater. His musicals include Fifty Million Frenchmen, The Gay Divorce, Anything Goes, and Kiss Me Kate. His hit songs include “Night and Day,” written in 1932 and performed by Fred Astaire in the musical Gay Divorce. A film version of the play was released in 1934 and retitled The Gay Divorcee starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Another hit song, "I've Got You Under My Skin," was written in 1936 and was performed by Virginia Bruce in the musical Born to Dance.
Rodgers and Hart
Richard Charles Rodgers (1902 - 1979) is known for his musical comedies and his successful collaborations with librettist Lorenz Hart (1895 - 1943). Their collaborations produced several musical comedies such as The Garrick Gaieties, Dearest Enemy (ran a total of 286 performances) and A Connecticut Yankee. Together they created around 1,000 songs including "With a Song in My Heart," "The Lady Is a Tramp," "Pal Joey," "Blue Moon," "My Funny Valentine" and "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered."
musical. (2011). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/399126/musical
what is a musical? (2010). In Musicals 101. Retrieved from http://www.musicals101.com/musical.htm