Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the dramatist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan and to the works they jointly created; the two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H. M. S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known. Gilbert, who wrote the libretti for these operas, created fanciful "topsy-turvy" worlds where each absurdity is taken to its logical conclusion—fairies rub elbows with British lords, flirting is a capital offence, gondoliers ascend to the monarchy, pirates emerge as noblemen who have gone astray. Sullivan, six years Gilbert's junior, composed the music, contributing memorable melodies that could convey both humour and pathos, their operas have enjoyed broad and enduring international success and are still performed throughout the English-speaking world. Gilbert and Sullivan introduced innovations in content and form that directly influenced the development of musical theatre through the 20th century.
The operas have influenced political discourse, literature and television and have been parodied and pastiched by humorists. Producer Richard D'Oyly Carte brought Gilbert and Sullivan together and nurtured their collaboration, he built the Savoy Theatre in 1881 to present their joint works and founded the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which performed and promoted Gilbert and Sullivan's works for over a century. Gilbert was born in London on 18 November 1836, his father, was a naval surgeon who wrote novels and short stories, some of which included illustrations by his son. In 1861, to supplement his income, the younger Gilbert began writing illustrated stories and articles of his own, many of which would be mined as inspiration for his plays and operas Gilbert's series of illustrated poems, the Bab Ballads. In the Bab Ballads and his early plays, Gilbert developed a unique "topsy-turvy" style in which humour was derived by setting up a ridiculous premise and working out its logical consequences, however absurd.
Director and playwright Mike Leigh described the "Gilbertian" style as follows: With great fluidity and freedom, continually challenges our natural expectations. First, within the framework of the story, he makes bizarre things happen, turns the world on its head, thus the Learned Judge marries the Plaintiff, the soldiers metamorphose into aesthetes, so on, nearly every opera is resolved by a deft moving of the goalposts... His genius is to fuse opposites with an imperceptible sleight of hand, to blend the surreal with the real, the caricature with the natural. In other words, to tell a outrageous story in a deadpan way. Gilbert developed his innovative theories on the art of stage direction, following theatrical reformer Tom Robertson. At the time Gilbert began writing, theatre in Britain was in disrepute. Gilbert helped to reform and elevate the respectability of the theatre beginning with his six short family-friendly comic operas, or "entertainments", for Thomas German Reed. At a rehearsal for one of these entertainments, Ages Ago, in 1870, the composer Frederic Clay introduced Gilbert to his friend, the young composer Arthur Sullivan.
Over the next year, before the two first collaborated, Gilbert continued to write humorous verse and plays, including the comic operas Our Island Home and A Sensation Novel, the blank verse comedies The Princess, The Palace of Truth and Pygmalion and Galatea. Sullivan was born in London on 13 May 1842, his father was a military bandmaster, by the time Arthur had reached the age of eight, he was proficient with all the instruments in the band. In school he began to compose songs. In 1856, he received the first Mendelssohn Scholarship and studied at the Royal Academy of Music and at Leipzig, where he took up conducting, his graduation piece, completed in 1861, was a suite of incidental music to Shakespeare's The Tempest. Revised and expanded, it was an immediate sensation, he began building a reputation as England's most promising young composer, composing a symphony, a concerto, several overtures, among them the Overture di Ballo, in 1870. His early major works for the voice included The Masque at Kenilworth.
He composed a ballet, L'Île incidental music for a number of Shakespeare plays. Other early pieces that were praised were his Symphony in E, Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Overture in C; these commissions, were not sufficient to keep Sullivan afloat. He worked as a church organist and composed numerous hymns, popular songs, parlour ballads. Sullivan's first foray into comic opera was Cox and Box, written with librettist F. C. Burnand for an informal gathering of friends. Public performance followed, with W. S. Gilbert saying that Sullivan's score "is, in many places, of too high a class for the grotesquely absurd plot to which it is wedded." Nonetheless, it proved successful, is still performed today. Sullivan and Burnand's second opera, The Contrabandista was not as successful. In 1871, producer John Hollingshead brought Gilbert and Sullivan together to produce a Christmas entertainment, Thespis, at his Gaiety Theatre, a large West End house; the piece was an extravaganza in which the classical Greek gods, grown elderly, are temporarily replaced by a troupe of 19th-century actors and actresses, one of whom is the eponymous
Show Boat is a musical in two acts, with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, based on Edna Ferber's best-selling novel of the same name. The musical follows the lives of the performers and dock workers on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat, over 40 years from 1887 to 1927, its themes include tragic, enduring love. The musical contributed such classic songs as "Ol' Man River", "Make Believe", "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man"; the musical was first produced in 1927 by Florenz Ziegfeld. The premiere of Show Boat on Broadway was an important event in the history of American musical theatre, it "was a radical departure in musical storytelling, marrying spectacle with seriousness", compared with the trivial and unrealistic operettas, light musical comedies and "Follies"-type musical revues that defined Broadway in the 1890s and early 20th century. According to The Complete Book of Light Opera: Here we come to a new genre – the musical play as distinguished from musical comedy.
Now … the play was the thing, everything else was subservient to that play. Now … came complete integration of song and production numbers into a single and inextricable artistic entity; the quality of Show Boat was recognized by critics, it is revived. Awards did not exist for Broadway shows in 1927, when the show premiered, or in 1932 when its first revival was staged. Late 20th-century revivals of Show Boat have won both the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival. In doing research for her proposed novel Show Boat, writer Edna Ferber spent five days on the James Adams Floating Palace Theatre in Bath, North Carolina, gathering material about a disappearing American entertainment venue, the river showboat. In a few weeks, she gained what she called a "treasure trove of show-boat material, touching, true". Ferber researched these American showboats for months prior to her stay on the Floating Palace Theatre. Jerome Kern was impressed by the novel and, hoping to adapt it as a musical, asked the critic Alexander Woollcott to introduce him to Ferber in October 1926.
Woollcott introduced them that evening during the intermission of Kern's latest musical, Criss Cross. Ferber was at first shocked. After being assured by Kern that he did not want to adapt it as the typical frivolous "girlie" show of the 1920s, she granted him and his collaborator Oscar Hammerstein II the rights to set her novel to music. After composing most of the first-act songs and Hammerstein auditioned their material for producer Florenz Ziegfeld, thinking that he was the person to create the elaborate production they felt necessary for Ferber's sprawling work. Ziegfeld was impressed with the show and agreed to produce it, writing the next day, "This is the best musical comedy I have been fortunate to get a hold of. Though Ziegfeld anticipated opening his new theatre on Sixth Avenue with Show Boat, the epic nature of the work required an unusually long gestation period and extensive changes during out-of-town tryouts. Impatient with Kern and Hammerstein and worried about the serious tone of the musical, Ziegfeld decided to open his theatre in February 1927 with Rio Rita, a musical by Kern's collaborator Guy Bolton.
When Rio Rita proved to be a success, Show Boat's Broadway opening was delayed until Rita could be moved to another theatre. Note: Although the basic plot of Show Boat has always remained the same, over the years revisions and alterations were made by the creators, over time by subsequent producers and directors; some of these revisions were for length and some for convenience, as when a different actor played a certain role and was unable to perform a specialty piece written for the role's creator. Some have been made to reflect contemporary sensitivities toward race and other social issues. Act IIn 1887, the show boat Cotton Blossom arrives at the river dock in Mississippi; the Reconstruction era had ended a decade earlier, white-dominated Southern legislatures have imposed racial segregation and Jim Crow rules. The boat's owner, Cap'n Andy Hawks, introduces his actors to the crowd on the levee. A fistfight breaks out between Steve Baker, the leading man of the troupe, Pete, a rough engineer, making passes at Steve's wife, the leading lady Julie La Verne.
Steve knocks Pete down, Pete swears revenge, suggesting he knows a dark secret about Julie. Cap'n Andy pretends to the shocked crowd that the fight was a preview of one of the melodramas to be performed; the troupe exits with the showboat band, the crowd follows. A handsome riverboat gambler, Gaylord Ravenal, appears on the levee and is taken with eighteen-year-old Magnolia Hawks, an aspiring performer and the daughter of Cap'n Andy and his wife Parthenia Ann. Magnolia is smitten with Ravenal, she seeks advice from Joe, a black dock worker aboard the boat, who has returned from buying flour for his wife Queenie, the ship's cook. He replies that there are "lots like on the river." As Magnolia goes inside the boat to tell her friend Julie about the handsome stranger, Joe mutters that she ought to ask the river for advice. He and the other dock workers reflect on the wisdom and indifference of "Ol' Man River", who doesn't seem to care what the world's troubles are, but "jes' keeps rollin' along".
Magnolia finds Julie inside and a
Art Nouveau is an international style of art and applied art the decorative arts, most popular between 1890 and 1910. A reaction to the academic art of the 19th century, it was inspired by natural forms and structures the curved lines of plants and flowers. English uses the French name Art Nouveau; the style is related to, but not identical with, styles that emerged in many countries in Europe at about the same time: in Austria it is known as Secessionsstil after Wiener Secession. Art Nouveau is a total art style: It embraces a wide range of fine and decorative arts, including architecture, graphic art, interior design, furniture, ceramics, glass art, metal work. By 1910, Art Nouveau was out of style, it was replaced as the dominant European architectural and decorative style first by Art Deco and by Modernism. Art Nouveau took its name from the Maison de l'Art Nouveau, an art gallery opened in 1895 by the Franco-German art dealer Siegfried Bing that featured the new style. In France, Art Nouveau was sometimes called by the British term "Modern Style" due to its roots in the Arts and Crafts movement, Style moderne, or Style 1900.
It was sometimes called Style Jules Verne, Le Style Métro, Art Belle Époque, Art fin de siècle. In Belgium, where the architectural movement began, it was sometimes termed Style nouille or Style coup de fouet. In Britain, it was known as the Modern Style, or, because of the Arts and Crafts movement led by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow, as the "Glasgow" style. In Italy, because of the popularity of designs from London's Liberty & Co department store, it was called Stile Liberty, Stile floreale, or Arte nuova. In the United States, due to its association with Louis Comfort Tiffany, it was called the "Tiffany style". In Germany and Scandinavia, a related style emerged at about the same time. In Austria and the neighboring countries part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a similar style emerged, called Secessionsstil in German, or Wiener Jugendstil, after the artists of the Vienna Secession; the style was called Modern in Nieuwe Kunst in the Netherlands. In Spain the related style was known as Modernismo, Arte joven.
Some names refer to the organic forms that were popular with the Art Nouveau artists: Stile Floreal in France. The new art movement had its roots in Britain, in the floral designs of William Morris, in the Arts and Crafts movement founded by the pupils of Morris. Early prototypes of the style include the Red House of Morris, the lavish Peacock Room by James Abbott McNeill Whistler; the new movement was strongly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite painters, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones, by British graphic artists of the 1880s, including Selwyn Image, Heywood Sumner, Walter Crane, Alfred Gilbert, Aubrey Beardsley. In France, the style combined several different tendencies. In architecture, it was influenced by the architectural theorist and historian Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, a declared enemy of the historical Beaux-Arts architectural style. In his 1872 book Entretiens sur l'architecture, he wrote, "use the means and knowledge given to us by our times, without the intervening traditions which are no longer viable today, in that way we can inaugurate a new architecture.
For each function its material. This book influenced a generation of architects, including Louis Sullivan, Victor Horta, Hector Guimard, Antoni Gaudí; the French painters Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard played an important part in integrating fine arts painting with decoration. "I believe that before everything a painting must decorate", Denis wrote in 1891. "The choice of subjects or scenes is nothing. It is by the value of tones, the colored surface and the harmony of lines that I can reach the spirit and wake up the emotions." These painters all did both traditional painting and decorative painting on screens, in glass, in other media. Another important influence on the new style was Japonism: the wave of enthusiasm for Japanese woodblock printing the works of Hiroshige and Utagawa Kunisada which were imported into Europe beginning in the 1870s; the enterprising Siegfried Bing founded a monthly journal, Le Japon artistique in 1888, published thirty-six issues before it ended in 1891.
It influenced both artists, including Gustav Klimt. The stylized features of Japanese prints appeared in Art Nouveau graphics, porcelain and furniture. New technologies in printing and publishing allowed Art Nouveau to reach a global audience. Art magazines, illustrated with photographs and color lithographs, played an essential role in popularizing the new style; the Studio in England, Arts et
Howard Andrew Williams was an American singer. He recorded 43 albums in his career, of which 15 have been gold-certified and three platinum-certified, he was nominated for six Grammy Awards. He hosted The Andy Williams Show, a television variety show, from 1962 to 1971, numerous TV specials; the Andy Williams Show won three Emmy awards. The Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri is named after the song for which he is best known—Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini's "Moon River", he sold more than 100 million records worldwide, including more than 10 million certified units in the United States. Williams was active in the music industry for 74 years. Williams was born in Wall Lake, Iowa, to Florence and Jay Emerson Williams, who worked in insurance and the post office. While living in Cheviot, Williams attended Western Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, he finished high school at University High School, in West Los Angeles, because of his family's move to California. Williams had three older brothers—Bob and Dick Williams.
His first performance was in a children's choir at the local Presbyterian church. He and his brothers formed the Williams Brothers quartet in late 1938, they performed on radio in the Midwest, first at WHO, in Des Moines, at WLS, in Chicago, WLW, in Cincinnati. Moving to Los Angeles in 1943, the Williams Brothers sang with Bing Crosby on his 1944 hit record "Swinging on a Star", they appeared in four musical films: Janie, Kansas City Kitty, Something in the Wind and Ladies' Man. A persistent myth is that as a teenager the future singing star dubbed the singing for Lauren Bacall in the 1944 feature film To Have and Have Not. According to authoritative sources, including Howard Hawks and Bacall herself, this was not true. Williams and some female singers were tested to dub for Bacall, because of fears that she lacked the necessary vocal skills, but those fears were overshadowed by the desire to have Bacall do her own singing despite her imperfect vocal talent. This myth is refuted in Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide in the entry for this film.
The Williams Brothers were signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to appear in Anchors Aweigh and Ziegfeld Follies but, before they went before the cameras, the oldest brother, was drafted into military service and the group's contract was canceled. Kay Thompson, a former radio star, now head of the vocal department at MGM, had a nose for talent and hired the remaining three Williams brothers to sing in her large choir on many soundtracks for MGM films, including The Harvey Girls; when Bob completed his military service, Kay hired all four brothers to sing on the soundtrack to Good News. By Thompson was tired of working behind the scenes at MGM so, with the four Williams boys as her backup singers and dancers, she formed a nightclub act, Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers, they became an overnight sensation. Within a year, they were the highest paid nightclub act in the world, breaking records wherever they appeared. Williams revealed in his memoir, Moon River and Me, that he and Thompson became romantically involved while on tour, despite the age difference.
The act broke up in 1949 but reunited for another hugely successful tour from the fall of 1951 through the summer of 1953. After that, the four brothers went their separate ways. A complete itinerary of both tours is listed on the Kay Thompson biography website. Williams and Thompson, remained close and professionally, she mentored his emergence as a solo singing star. She coached him, wrote his arrangements, composed many songs that he recorded, including his 1958 Top 20 hit "Promise Me, Love" and "Kay Thompson's Jingle Bells" on his 1964 No. 1 The Andy Williams Christmas Album. Using her contacts in the business, Thompson helped Williams land his breakthrough television gig as a featured singer for two and a half years on Tonight Starring Steve Allen. Thompson got Williams his breakthrough recording contract with Cadence Records, whose owner, Archie Bleyer, had gotten early career breaks because of Kay and owed her a favor. Meanwhile, Williams sang backup on many of Thompson's recordings through the 1950s, including her Top 40 hit Eloise, based on her bestselling books about the mischievous little girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York.
Thompson served as a creative consultant and vocal arranger on Williams's three summer replacement network television series in 1957, 1958, 1959. In the summer of 1961, Thompson traveled with Williams and coached him throughout his starring role in a summer stock tour of the musical Pal Joey, their personal and professional relationship ended in 1962, when Williams met and married Claudine Longet, Thompson moved to Rome. Williams's solo career began in 1953, he recorded six sides for RCA Victor's label "X". After landing a spot as a regular on Tonight Starring Steve Allen in 1954, Williams was signed to a recording contract with Cadence Records, a small label in New York, run by conductor Archie Bleyer. Williams's third single, "Canadian Sunset", reached No. 7 in the Top Ten in August 1956. "Butterfly" was No. 1 for two weeks on the UK Singles Chart in May 1957. More hit records followed, including "The Hawaiian Wedding Song", "Are You Sincere?", "The Village of St. Bernadette", "Lonely Street", "I Like Your Kind of Lov
The King and I
The King and I is the fifth musical by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based on Margaret Landon's novel and the King of Siam, in turn derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s; the musical's plot relates the experiences of Anna, a British schoolteacher hired as part of the King's drive to modernize his country. The relationship between the King and Anna is marked by conflict through much of the piece, as well as by a love to which neither can admit; the musical premiered on March 1951, at Broadway's St. James Theatre, it ran for nearly three years, making it the fourth longest-running Broadway musical in history at the time, has had many tours and revivals. In 1950, theatrical attorney Fanny Holtzmann was looking for a part for her client, veteran leading lady Gertrude Lawrence. Holtzmann realized that Landon's book would provide an ideal vehicle and contacted Rodgers and Hammerstein, who were reluctant but agreed to write the musical.
The pair sought Rex Harrison to play the supporting part of the King, a role he had played in the 1946 film made from Landon's book, but he was unavailable. They settled on television director Yul Brynner; the musical was an immediate hit, winning Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Actress and Best Featured Actor. Lawrence died unexpectedly of cancer a year and a half after the opening, the role of Anna was played by several actresses during the remainder of the Broadway run of 1,246 performances. A hit London run and U. S. national tour followed, together with a 1956 film for which Brynner won an Academy Award, the musical was recorded several times. In revivals, Brynner came to dominate his role and the musical, starring in a four-year national tour culminating in a 1985 Broadway run shortly before his death. Christopher Renshaw directed major revivals on Broadway, winning the Tony Award for Best Revival, in the West End. A 2015 Broadway revival won another Tony for Best Revival. Both professional and amateur revivals of The King and I continue to be staged throughout the English-speaking world.
Mongkut, King of Siam, was about 57 years old in 1861. He had lived half his life as a Buddhist monk, was an able scholar, founded a new order of Buddhism and a temple in Bangkok. Through his decades of devotion, Mongkut acquired an ascetic lifestyle and a firm grasp of Western languages; when Nangklao died in 1850, Mongkut became king. At that time, various European countries were striving for dominance, American traders sought greater influence in Southeast Asia, he succeeded in keeping Siam an independent nation by familiarizing his heirs and harem with Western ways. In 1861, Mongkut wrote to his Singapore agent, Tan Kim Ching, asking him to find a British lady to be governess to the royal children. At the time, the British community in Singapore was small, the choice fell on a recent arrival there, Anna Leonowens, running a small nursery school in the colony. Leonowens was the Anglo-Indian daughter of an Indian Army soldier and the widow of Thomas Owens, a clerk and hotel keeper, she had arrived in Singapore two years claiming to be the genteel widow of an officer and explaining her dark complexion by stating that she was Welsh by birth.
Her deception was not detected until long after her death, had still not come to light when The King and I was written. Upon receiving the King's invitation, Leonowens sent her daughter, Avis, to school in England, to give Avis the social advantage of a prestigious British education, traveled to Bangkok with her five-year-old son, Louis. King Mongkut had sought a Briton to teach his children and wives after trying local missionaries, who used the opportunity to proselytize. Leonowens asked for $150 in Singapore currency per month, her additional request, to live in or near the missionary community to ensure she was not deprived of Western company, aroused suspicion in Mongkut, who cautioned in a letter, "we need not have teacher of Christianity as they are abundant here". King Mongkut and Leonowens came to an agreement: $100 per month and a residence near the royal palace. At a time when most transport in Bangkok was by boat, Mongkut did not wish to have to arrange for the teacher to get to work every day.
Leonowens and Louis temporarily lived as guests of Mongkut's prime minister, after the first house offered was found to be unsuitable, the family moved into a brick residence within walking distance of the palace. In 1867, Leonowens took a six-month leave of absence to visit her daughter Avis in England, intending to deposit Louis at a school in Ireland and return to Siam with Avis. However, due to unexpected delays and opportunities for further travel, Leonowens was still abroad in late 1868, when Mongkut fell ill and died. Leonowens did not return to Siam, although she continued to correspond with her former pupil, the new king Chulalongkorn. In 1950, British actress Gertrude Lawrence's business manager and attorney, Fanny Holtzmann, was looking for a new vehicle for her client when the 1944 Margaret Landon novel Anna and the King of Siam was sent to her by Landon's agent. According to Rodgers biographer Meryle Secrest, Holtzmann was worried that Lawrence's career was fading; the 51-year-old actress had appeared only in plays, not in musicals, since Lady in the Dark closed in 1943.
Holtzmann agreed that a musical based on Anna and the King of Siam would be ideal for her client, who purchased the rights to adapt the no