BROADWAY: THE AMERICAN MUSICAL chronicles the history of this uniquely American art form. "Broadway," hosted by Academy Award- winning star of stage, film and television, Julie Andrews, tells two stories: the 100-year history of musical theater, and the story of its relationship to 20th-century American life, from the immigrant experience at the turn of the century to today's Broadway, where big budget new productions and revivals of classic favorites compete side by side for box office success. Peppered throughout are legendary moments in Broadway history and first-person accounts from dozens of theater luminaries -- among them late greats such as Adolph Green, Brendan Gill, Peter Stone, "Ziegfeld Girl" Dana O'Connell, Al Hirschfeld and Frances Gershwin Godowsky, and many other writers, lyricists, producers, performers, directors and scholars. Among them are Mel Brooks, Carol Channing, Betty Comden, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Jerry Herman, Margo Jefferson, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Joel Grey, Harvey Fierstein, Robert Kimball, Chita Rivera, John Lahr, Rocco Landesman, Jerry Orbach, Arthur Laurents, Harold Prince, Gerald Schoenfeld, Stephen Sondheim, Tommy Tune, Ben Vereen and George Wolfe.
Putting It Together (1980 - Present) Episode # 106
Legendary as the "Abominable Showman," notorious producer David Merrick re-conquers Broadway in 1980 with a smash adaptation of the movie musical 42nd Street. But soon the biggest hits are arriving from an unexpected source - London. Producer Cameron Mackintosh redefines the business of show business as Cats, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon become international blockbusters. Sondheim's Sunday in the Park With George defies categorization, while Jerry Herman's crowd-pleasing La Cage aux Folles has two men sing a love song to each other for the first time on Broadway - a breakthrough soon overshadowed by the rising decimation of the AIDS crisis on Broadway. Yet with Julie Taymor's triumphant re-imagining of The Lion King, Disney leads an astonishing resurrection of 42nd Street. Composer Jonathan Larson scores a bittersweet victory with the rock-flavored Rent, and the old-style musical is reborn in Mel Brooks' The Producers, which becomes the first must-see musical comedy in decades, despite a ticket price of $ 480 for each VIP seat. After 9/11, Broadway - like the rest of America - emerges from the darkness. Broadway's corporate dominance continues to grow. "Oh, I've been hearing about Broadway disappearing ever since I put on long pants," says illustrator Al Hirschfeld. "I mean, it's been the fabulous invalid. You know, but it survives, it survives." The episode features interviews with writer/producer Mel Brooks, actor Kristin Chenoweth, Walt Disney Corporation CEO Michael Eisner, actor/bookwriter Harvey Fierstein, composer/lyricist Jerry Herman, actor Nathan Lane, playwright/director James Lapine, producer Rocco Landesman, director Arthur Laurents, Nederlander Theaters chairman James Nederlander Sr., director Susan Stroman and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Highlights include home movies of Jonathan Larson working as a waiter before leaving his job to create Rent, and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of Wicked in rehearsal and opening on Broadway.