Skip to main content

tv   Lectures in History New York City and Broadway in the 1960s  CSPAN  March 24, 2018 8:00pm-9:11pm EDT

8:00 pm
morning. join in the discussion. college professors teach a class describing the political culture at the time, the relationship and offbroadway productions and how smaller theaters were often more and responding to current issues such as vietnam. an hour andis about minutes. > i have prepared a little introduction to our class called war and in the 1960s, resistance. ver the course of the semester we've been looking at the musical tradition from minstrel antebellum america, post
8:01 pm
looking at a, berlebe -- others with the birth of the so we've beenical primary questions throughout the course. how were musicals shaped by heir times, the influx of eople and the political conditions, by new technology, and how have musicals dealt with historical issues of racism, be it slavery, conflict, ghts, class depression, and up to a including war that's been constant in the story. come into the 1960s, war is of central importance so what
8:02 pm
do is just would begin to sketch a timeline of events, of political, theatrical characterize hat the period. and ask you to think about the musicals during tumultuous decade. 20, me begin with january 1961, when john f. if kennedy is sworn in as president. he gives a stirring inaugural address. culture as the 1960s got under way, and this outh orientation was not restricted to ordinary people white house dent, and this new argue. has 's saying the torch been passed to a new generation of americans, born in this century, tempered by war. disciplined by a hard and bitter
8:03 pm
peace. heritage ur ancient and unwilling to witness or undoing of those human rights to which this always been committed to which we are committed to today at home and around the world. most memorable applause line came toward the end when kennedy any i do not believe that exchange places with other er people or any generation. it will enlight our country and all who serve i. globe from that fire can truly light the world and so my fellow americans, ask not what for you.try can do ask what you can do for your country. as can imagine hearing this a young person, as a voter, as finally sees someone from their generation or close taking the reigns of
8:04 pm
power. ofortunately he stumbled out the gate by backing the bay of pigs invasion in 1961 and getting embroiled in vietnam. here he is at a press conference ointing tout communist threat to laos. in may he sends helicopters and 00 green berets to south vietnam and authorizes secret the viet against cong. this is the gear up. later that adway, succeed risque how to in business without trying opens on he 46th street theater broadway. the show wins seven tony awards 1962 pulitzer prize for drama. 1961, the best musical tony
8:05 pm
ent to a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. long blacklisted in hollywood elsewhere, far less president," as "mr. which president kennedy and ackie attended at a try-out in washington, d.c. the production made it to broadway but was panned as old its topical te lighthearted cold war plot. it's , if you will, and hard not to, the awesome couple.l beauty of this he youth movement, hearing out this 45-year-old jacqueline second youngest president elected, and jackie is 33. contagious. is indeed, kennedy's brief residency came to be known as "cam
8:06 pm
"camolot." had its roots in broadway. of course, kennedy loved the the music of which was written by one of his at lerner. camolot, all was not well in the kennedy administration. 1962, the united states and the soviet union tood on the brink of nuclear war when it was discovered that the uss sr had installed cuba to missiles in prevent another invasion like the bay of pigs. to u.s. set up a blockade prevent the delivery of any more missiles and after 12 days of negotiations, the soviet union agreed to withdraw its u.s. would the withdraw its missiles in turkey. averted.ter was but not for long. so trouble flares again in august of 1964.
8:07 pm
of an antiated reports in the n a u.s. vessel gulf of tonkin spurred the passage of the resolution which authorizes the president to take all necessary measures including the use of armed forces against conflict.sor in the this is the carte blanche. what authorizes the president to gear up this war formal declaration by congress. off.i'm a little a little off. yes. that.t's -- i had a is gulf of there is tonkin. talking about a the attack, and afterwards these
8:08 pm
of the plays, the hits, time. and we'll talk more about these. roof," "funny e "man of la mancha." . what happens, after gearing up this is my slide for supports the assassination of dm, ruler of thisam and his brother and is november 1963. kennedy himself is assassinated 1963, and in november camalot.the end of his vice president lyndon johnson is sworn in. he vows to continue the by domestically great society of social
8:09 pm
reforms. he war takes over and gets in his way. nother sort of rather lighthearted comedy is on broadway. here's love based on the chris on 34th street about a little girl who doubts he existence of santa claus so in some ways it's unfair, i'm serious ng these political events with these white, fluffy broadway. one of the questions is how does deal with the war, why should it deal with the war, of is the role entertainment anyway? but we see the war sort of more and more to the broadway producer. johnson is in charge and he starts to gear up and prosecute diligently. march 1965, he launches a three-year campaign of sustained targets in north vietnam
8:10 pm
and the ho chi minh trail in operation rolling thunder. the same month u.s. marines land denang on the beaches and so the first and combat troops are really there.ed in large numbers in november, we have an active protest. active dissent, and that's a 31-year-old , passcyiaden pascifist, this comes home. yes? >> what's his name? name is norman morrison. -- when he set himself on fire? >> he actually did. us the baby and so somebody took the baby and the baby lived. right. >> so it's a bizarre act of
8:11 pm
protest. a very extreme act of protest. this is what's happening. meanwhile, on broadway, we have teenager, liza minnelli making her broadway debut. show plummets following a brief run. the biggest flop of the season, "kelly," is this one, inspired by news boy steve brodie. sorry for the news boy reference. 1886, he's said to have jumped off the new brooklyn showman d he becomes a new e launches acts in york, and it was probably a big the jump but faked anyway, this show closes after brodie t so the word the vocabulary as a flop, when a show flops. 1966, the number of u.s.
8:12 pm
roops in vietnam numbers, 400,000. he broadway hits of 1966 were cabaret, sweet chairty and lans -- >> a new comedy is on the scene. piece of prop reated by megan terry with input from cast members. ow, it's a product of the experimental offbroadway open theater and it was the first ock musical written and performed in the united states, and the first protest play about vietnam. the experimental theater club on may 18, 1966, interactive ne in theater in that the actors are oing out to the audience and interacting with them.
8:13 pm
so the war is coming here in way. 1967, meanwhile, number of 500,000.eaches half a million. draftees, of whom were who accounted for 30% of the casualties. young people could get they were enrolled in college so the bubbling of from workings were class families including blacks, native americans, and these numbers are going up, and up, the umbers go protests increase as well. uge anti-war protests occur in berkeley, san francisco, new york, and washington. washington, d.c. so now, 1968 proves to be story.l to this the tet offensive begins in january. tet, of course is the vietnamese north r's, and the vietnamese are on the offensive.
8:14 pm
assault, combined vietnam and north vietnamese armies. attacks are carried out in more han a hundred cities and outposts across south vietnam and the u.s. on embassy is invaded. bloody attack ve shocks u.s. officials and marks a real turning point in the war, beginning of a gradual u.s. withdrawal from the region. continue to mount, however. were killed ldiers during one week in february. 16, we his, 1968, march morethe massacre, in which than 500 civilians are murdered men, women and children. this is not made public 20 onths later when the new york reporter uncovers this story and
8:15 pm
so this war is just into an ating abroad.sible action president johnson halts the bombing in vietnam. parallel.the 20th and he's facing a backlash about the war. not e announces that he'll run for re-election. i remember this talk. 31, 1968.rch it was my birthday. i was turning 13 years old and on, on the television and he says i shall not seek and i will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as president. i have to prosecute the war, we i'm reaching out for peace but i can't be bothered with campaigning or anything it was couched in those kinds of service terms. ut his whole domestic legacy and agenda was sort of being overshadowed by vietnam. so we have malai, lbj dropping we have the
8:16 pm
assassinations of martin luther 1968.n april of he had denounced the role talking about the role of the african-americans, the high casualties, followed by robert kennedy in los angeles, night he california primary and -- clinched nged the democratic nomination by anti-war platform. instead, richard nixon is in november.dent and he said he had a secret plan war.nd the in fact, he sabotages the paris thee talks, secretly expand war into lao and cambodia and institutes the first draft ii.tery since world war prompting even more men to flee to canada. men. young dodgers so-called draft become the subject of a vietrock and this
8:17 pm
is the play we'll be talking hair, the rock musical. so here the war finally comes in broadway.way to so i just wanted to set the chronology, and then ask you about, we could about this afterwards, about broadway's response to this unpopular war and the social crisis. was it predictable? ostrich-like? or not? and especially compared to other art forms, whether it's film or music. major i think, we see a response. the other thing is what should it have been? what should broadway have done? responsibility, as i said, does it have to respond to these series political matters? then when we talk about and take them to task, hold them up how me kind of standard, does the response of broadway in resemble differ or
8:18 pm
broadway's response to world war ii?nd world war and so those are just some uestions i want you to think about as we continue to talk bout the 1960s and war -- resistance, and broadway. > so i think that what we're going to do, is i'll speak for a a tle while, and i'll talk little bit about the broadway experience, but i'm going to not very long.way for we're moving into other realms, and we'll talk about the way to broadway, ime afterwards, hen we'll have questions. as they arise. >> we started talking a little already, in this class, bout the rise of the youth culture, rise of youth culture, increasing generation gap, and the new interest in rock 'n roll, and as a result of this, this has basically taken
8:19 pm
interest in what is considered to be, i guess, kind of like old culture can, older culture, right? because all of a sudden there is this distinction between tastes and d their older people, parents, and their tastes and it gets wider. when we left it the other day we ere starting to talk about how broadway, its audience was getting older, right? they wereere doing -- tracking this and noticing, more and more younger people are aying, no, we have no interest in this. i think that that's really very reflective in what vince was us, in terms of all of the different, like i love, the escalating, here's "hello dolly." tough.ings are really here's mr. president. mr. president, by the way, was -- it's like sort of the death of old guard. oscar hammerstein
8:20 pm
dies in 1960. like, rogers is sort of this is kind of, he collaborates with some other people but this end of hisort of the string of incredible hits. after this, and there are a number of different composeures that really sort of away, and that also leaves a little bit of a these shows have that are serving a middle class and an aging audience and some people would arc a so where isudience, all the anti-war stuff? where is the conversation about culture?h where is the rock 'n roll? where is the expression of now?'s going on right and the answer is, off, off broadway. now, in order to talk a little bit about off, off broadway, i make sure that you all understand the distinctions etween broadway and off
8:21 pm
place.y in the first so, broadway, we all understand right?y, commercial theater center in new york city, arguably of the entire united states. the most intense, right? there are commercial theaters in every city and in every state, really, concentration is not equalled anywhere else in the also, size es, and has a lot to do with broadway, so it's generally almost a thousand seats. the smallest one is maybe just under a thousand seats, but most of these are enormous, and they are commercial, at least at this time. some are now nonprofit. changing, but for this time period, commercial theater light? that's broadway. is smaller broadway theaters that are less closely affiliated with one another but all over the ered city. the off-broadway movement is old. for a long ound
8:22 pm
time. if you think about it, braufrd established at union square before there is an understanding of broadway as we know it now, up to times n gets square, but what we have before that are these commercial starting at the bowery, and g up to union square landing in the times square area. those times, there are venturesese theatrical that are not enormously commercial. that are not gathering thousands watchple to come over and the show every single night. less are comparatively xherlg entities and for the longest times starting and the s and going through thisuntil about the 1950s, theater as the little movement. i don't have pretty pictures, i'm sorry, it's just my chick my tch -- but
8:23 pm
chicken scratch so they start communicating with each other a little bit. lower manhattan. i have no interest, i want to do this little obscure little play people are housand going to want to come see, would never find a nice home on me and a what about number of different groups start talking to one another. comparatively less commercial a smaller, a number of smaller theaters and this kind gathers into a movement and s this g in the 1950 starts gaining steam as a place that is a place. it's a number of different of different er theaters all over the city that start to attract attention, some them become stronger than others and they start to attract the attention of critics and new audiences that are interested in moving beyond the bright lights of broadway so what we start in the you
8:24 pm
the 1950s, the off-broadway theater. houses that are smaller, they are a little bit taking. the way of risk does everybody understand that? sure are number one, i'm lot of you have seen this in any kind of entertainment product, discover this tiny little interesting wonderful band, or a television show that like only other people in the world watch. right? they have no budget. and then it gets picked up. happen?u seen this it gets picked up and then all of a sudden, boy, this band they work they are suddenly so fancy, i grungy, find of miss this television show when it didn't have a trillion dollar budget and it was fly by the seats. so that starts to happen with off-broadway. it becomes increasingly well known. becomes increasingly respected. as an alternative to broadway, a lot of people, it also
8:25 pm
then becomes increasingly sort of lostd it's its lure. it's a lure, right? be a reaction to everything, because that's the way the world works, and so we then, of, in the -- 1950s,uld say late what becomes known as off-off-broadway. would think i would learn how to spell after all these off-offbroadway movement really begins in the 1950s, and it gathers a reat deal of steam and becomes hugely influential for what it is, through the 1960s, war effort s the increases and the youth movements increase. the off-off-broadway movement starts kind of unofficially with establishment of the
8:26 pm
cafe-chino. cafe-chino, you can still go to the original space where it is. i'm not exaggerating, i think half the size of this room. very long and skinny. tin is this beautiful old metal roof. it's on cornelia street, i it's a thai restaurant. and it was ere established by a guy named joe chino. young man who decided, he was from buffalo, a child of italian immigrants and he wanted to come to new york city and establish himself as a dancer. he ofessional dancer, and really worked very, very hard but there were, first of all, incredibly competitive to be professional dancer, or a professional anything in new york. have to fight for it. and he did very hard but he also had pretty significant weight fluctuations.
8:27 pm
he struggled with his weight tired after nd got a while of starving himself, then go for an audition and he ouldn't make the audition and then he would be bad. eat, put on weight and get epressed, this cycle, and he got tired of it. so he decided, and he was a beloved guy, he had lots and friends, and lots of artists, lots of friends who he decided to o pu his resources and rent the tiniest little hole in the wall afford. find and -- put in a coffee maker, a cap cappuccino maker and according attracted, hee he said come, hang out and make art and do whatever it is you need to do. do whatever it is you feel like doing, and he began attracting, this is, again, this is in greenwich village, the site of new york city of
8:28 pm
sort of the counterculture lot of , so there is a countercultural activity a lot of artists coming to new york and looking for work. working or in not between jobs they come down to cappuccino, and they decide to paint on the walls or play and ly write a put it on in a tiny corner on the table while people sit and sip d sip coffee cappuccino and maybe bring in a bottle of wine. he starts to encourage an increasing number of artists who affiliated with the cafe cino. wilson, two wilsons. langford wilson, there is a lot of wilsons, doric wilson. else,ilsons, and then who sam shepherd was the playwright.
8:29 pm
there are a number of people writingrt coming in and these experimental plays. 1968, so he died in ad been sort of working at establishing this little tiny theater place but what started he died, by the time over the course of the 10 years, when he first moves into this little tiny cafe, and in 1968, the es of creating theater in new ork city, in alternative ways that are very are decidedly not commercial, starts to gain steam. joe cino is not the first person people to make art. there are theater makers that have come before. theater, the living which is actually still, you can google them and find out about the living theater but there was theater this group was
8:30 pm
s, they in the late 1940s had been around. then there is the open theater. all sorts of other, and then megan terry and various of other experimental heater people that start getting involved. what vince mentioned, an experimental theater company that still exists on east fourth street. you can go visit. amazing place. and all of these various and then theaters bread and panies -- puppet theater starts cropping up. theater. the living theater, the open theater, all of these are cafe rs along with the cino that start basically, a ting together like do-it-yourself attitude. like a diy attitude. we don't have any space. okay. there is an abandoned church
8:31 pm
down the street. let's go make some theater right there. we don't have any materials, let's see if somebody will make a donation and we can hang out make some et and theater on the street. -- puppet made bread and in they would do theater whatever spaces they could occupy and afterwards they would pass around bread. iving theater was the theater mentioned that was found by judith molino. they were married and their interest in the living theater that would create theater for sociocultural change. there was this idea if we could get theater that involved the udience that connected in some way with the audience, and there were many different theories as these dhunz and all of theaters had differed approaches but basically the idea, you, as an observer of theater, can also a theater practitioner, like a cafe cino, or if you're come sted in making art, try it.
8:32 pm
maybe you can perform it. in front of some random people having coffee. not? >> what could hurt? right? >> so all of this starts to evelop during this time, and what's kind of interest, and i was thinking about this, as incent is talking about the escalation of the war, is that andting with the cafe cino, going all the way through the early 1960s, which is when the cino is starting to attract, is that an awful lot of his is really much more focused, at least the cici no focused on gender, gender politics and identity politics. cino was gay and many of the friends he hung out with were, and if they weren't, he made a comfortable space for aople to explore so there was great deal of commentary on gender.ty and he offbroadway movement -- the
8:33 pm
broadway movement, coming over out this theater. the alternative ways of making theater. of these alternative theaters start exploring alternative types of relationships that would have new and kind of unique at the time. of the playerwrig -- playwrights, if we wanted people making love in our place we have because who has sex in armor, right? opposed to these conventions on television and roadway, people are fully dressed and they are like in separate beds, which was the case on television shows, all of a sudden we have displays of nudity. in depth ally, discussion of human sexuality that's going on off-off-broadway. in spaces that, again, could afford to make all kinds of and make all kinds of
8:34 pm
mistakes because what was going to happen? they were a hat, performing on a table in the a tiny little cabaret legal. s not technically the police would come by, you can't do that sorry, we'll never did it again. but there was not as much in the this is akes because not a multimillion dollar producer putting out millions of dollars to stage a show that everybody to appeal to. it was tiny little audiences that a couple of people would that was a and success and they went on. as this grew, what is kind of it is that theut movement starts to grow in a directions.fferent there is real reflection of of the lture in all theater companies that start to spring up after the cafe cino. the cafe cino is really of a queer n kind
8:35 pm
theater, very broadway defined. ways of exploring different over sex wallets. also different kinds of playwrighting. there were ones that followed afterwards. in 's theater was founded the basement of a church and the church was a very liberal church. on the nyuands right campus. they were performing shows in gymnasium, church basement, and the understanding this he church had relationship with the theater company, and the understanding you you can say whatever do, whatever you can do, you can or as clothed or as ransgress sieve as you want to be and the church can never censure you or tell you that you this, you t perform can do whatever you want so there was this real emphasis on became freedom that increasingly popular downtown and then groups like bread and puppet which were more about adapting with puppet and
8:36 pm
asmuning with audiences, but this begins to develop, a ariety of different approaches to making theater also start becoming really popular downtown. right? again, the off-off-broadway theater movement is technically ll over manhattan but concentrated in chief available spaces in greenwich village and village, which is why it remains where it is today but ll of these different theater companies start doing things that for the first time ever actually trickle up. so generally, what i was talking about, trickle-down economics, really strong, the wealthy will then influence the right. this.seen it's very rare that you see or maybe not so rare, we just don't much, but when the -- when the indy music, when somebody that records something their basement and uploads it actually manages to
8:37 pm
influence an entire established commercial entity, that's kind of a different situation. for the first time that actually happens during the 1960s, with culturesation of youth with the escalation of the civil rights movement and especially escalation of the war. starts off-off-broadway becoming a place in which starts being ater viewed as a way -- first of all, or artists to get hands on experience, really working with theater that many of them hoped sociocultural change, right? with engage deeply enough politics, if we, you know, it's ind of like the union, in the 19 30ss and 1940ses come to think of it but if we get somethingnd we create that's so transformative for our small audiences, if we're able get them involved in ways that broadway, with their very and, you know,ets their commercial sheen, is not
8:38 pm
going to do, wouldn't it be reat if we could instill some change. so what we start seeing over the 1960s is a gradual interest in this kind of interactive or collective theater, right? mentioned the open theater, so the open theater is descendant. so the living theater is this ompany that, again, i reiterate, is founded in 1948. beck and judith molina, this couple, and they ome up with this idea of creating theater for social owe cultural change. that works mebody with them, joe -- chaiken. a disciple. he starts what's open as the open theaters in the 1960s. own theater and hat theater is devoted to group ive works by a
8:39 pm
entered that will then be shown offeriences with the idea meanting sociocultural change of involved.eople -- fermenting sociocultural change. getting people involved. the actors supre-- about ut experiences at life at
8:40 pm
vietnam t related to abroad. how people were reacting and this collective, they play.ed together a they built it together. >> that's pretty good. that so she directed traffic. game is play sort of thather as group of people were actively working together. it was not a musical? the music was recorded in advance. recording that exists but bob dillon inspired, bob dillon was still in his folky phase. he was moving beyond it so electrify but this was basically bob dillon as folk her music is essentially woven through this piece but through recordings, so there are people enacting
8:41 pm
various different scenes that relate to the war in vietnam and reaction to it at home but of, we see an awful lot especially in between, the ccasional like music that's being played through recording. so it's not really a musical as it, but it did feature two of the people that were the creators of jerome -- and james here, there is no jerry. -- so it was y jerome -- and james, right? those are the guys that then came along and created hair. i don't want to talk too much i know a because certain group of you have hair as a presentation coming up and don't want to steal anybody's fire. but what is kind of unique about
8:42 pm
off- -- ction between off-off and broadway, suddenly looking like the dinosaur. and off-off-broadway is the fore where people are going innovation.utting edge were place that started off with off-off-broadway that broadway, like the idea, we see this happening all the time. it began starting at that time. not really typical to move something from one place and put it in a more commercial area, but at this point, this starts to become, you know, is established, in the mid 1960s, all of these or broadway entities begin -broadway entities
8:43 pm
an influence. see is a number theater techniques. broadway remains a commercial program. show where ve a people are walking up, touching your face, taking off their clothes and asking you if you go outside into the streets and smoke marijuana with them. not very much on $150 for, you just paid a seat. my n't want to take off clothes. starts to influence broadway in interesting innovative ways that happened slowly. broadway mes to the musical, we start seeing more
8:44 pm
very, very less -- direct influences from off-off broadway.o innovations.ious that doesn't have much to do with vietnam bit has to do with the youth culture. sexually, more interested in sexual being in of that e's boy, all stuff starts happening with the various youth cultures, and we starting in the fairly early 1960s the occasional flash of somebody's, backside, or something. or, full nudity, rarely in plays, hair being the first time in a tage nudity happens musical on a broadway stage. disrobes. cast but we also start seeing in the form of more
8:45 pm
techniques, and also, leading into theater, that we'll much more i think, in depth on wednesday, but i the like to sort of get ball rolling. i understand we started talking cabaret and about fiddler, right? you didn't talk about cabaret fiddler. ou started talking about concept musicals, right? oncept musicals, so concept musicals are really marks lot of that come from beyond broadway. right? the idea of a concept musical is -- experimenting with the form that you have. we'll take up ng again on wednesday, although i ould like for us to have questions and a conversation. the we start seeing with
8:46 pm
musicals is the director, the director as the creator, as right, very often the director, not actually doesn't brauf at all, ff idea that jerome robbins or, you various different directors could be lake a cory - -- cory ogif i -- but also, cabaret are particularly interesting to me vietnam war, the various ement, movement civil rights because it's set in a far away land at different times. in russia, cabaret is before the fall of the republic theize of nazi germany.
8:47 pm
my question for you and this is but for lk about now next time, my question to you is how does that relate to the 1960s in america? how do those two relate to the 1960s in america because that's on we'll be talking about wednesday. for now i'm kind of interested here and weack down can maybe take questions and laborate on some of stuff that about.alked yes? > okay. [inaudible] >> i know at that time -- >> i don't think so. more to do with - -- it's super,
8:48 pm
super important because they written all of this music and we must have their imprint. -- the idea of somebody that is creating, right? jerome robbins becomes increasingly important. the dominance st of the artist. what it's drivers that. also think there is also the experimental interest in taking adjusting sical and it to a dark and more experimental time matters a lot, too, but i'm not sure it's related some. how about the matter at hand. hand?bout the subject at how about vietnam and offbroadway and there -broadway, are uestions about any of the musicals --
8:49 pm
>> the relationship between broadway and een music, and it seems to me that music industry is more ively, is driving the culture and addressing these political issues in a way that broadway is a little late. in the same way, that broadway lays that i talked about, camalat, they are translated to the screen quite their influence is not just, in those broadway becomes with albums, with moves. they become a cultural phenomenon. there is a culture share in art forms. absolutely ens, happens with music. generations with
8:50 pm
everybody listening to the same stuff. does not consider age difference, certainly never was for dered for the music -- popular music, no one really yeah, we've got -- 16-21 to the 16 demographic. that's so modern if you think not the caseit was back then. at least before the 1960s, and before the dominance of the culture, there was really no distinction between what was to older people and what was marketed to younger people, starting in the 1960s, seeing, i mean, i have this flash in my mind of like a space odyssey, which is, in a lot of ways for its time, a rather experimental strange no, nonnarrative film.
8:51 pm
your average movie would right?ve, same with music. younger people are starting to be aggressively marketed to when comes to rock 'n roll, right? as an -- nly taken on adopted as young people's music it's sold back to young people as revolutionary music, as music of the generation, right? happened simultaneously, and this is really kind of a similarity. where, a lot of off-off-broadway, they are listening to rock 'n roll. debating ind of whether or not they burn their draft card or join the draft or whether they go to canada. know, there is a lot of pressures that are going on among younger people that are not hitting broadway because broadway is appealing to middle class, fairly middle of road people at the time. right? so broadway ends up being the adjust.hat has to like the film industry has to
8:52 pm
adjust, like the music industry has to adjust. but it's usually the most commercial entity that's the one caught unaware. there is other stuff going don downtown. we don't care about that we're really big expensive theater. ell, yeah, okay, that's not helping you right now. >> there is the correlation etween age and the complacency of broadway, are they directly correlating? >> i might say yes, i mean, my would be that, yeah, to is -- who is being sent war? is it the middle age businessman and the house wife at home uying tickets or the kids downtown concerned about the war, like there is, i think kind of an important old, ction between young, of innovative tosus complacent that starts
8:53 pm
happen at this time. >> i was going to ask about that it seemed like there were so s, a flops in the early 1960 good number of flops that, how of hey balance the idea like, how far could they have innovation and not lose their appeal? there is something like 80%, there is a ridiculous can never umber, i emember, and, yeah, like something like 20% of braufrd shows would make their money no one, no one quote me on that because, i but it is a tes, ast majority of shows, that do not do well on broadway.
8:54 pm
monumental success, the ric proportions, so gamble is you're going to lose, but boy, if you win, like you win, it's a constant pressure, pressure. > you want, it's not as if you .ant to put up flops, >> i don't know how many of you of ever heard of a lot these, raise your hand if you the heard of any of these, diehard theater students in the classroom are super into this you heard some of these, but these are not household names, right?
8:55 pm
you might have heard of hammerstein, whether you know roadway even before you registered for this class, but olume matters but you also -- you've got to -- you've got to almost with the art on broadway. i think in ways, it's a very cocktail, you need to be a e to justify charging, hundred dollars a ticket, back then it was less. pricey. first going in and buying a cup coffee, that's a lot cheaper and if you're not sufficiently not sufficiently entertained, who cares? you bought a nice cup of coffee watched at and something interesting and you left. versus i spent all my money, i'm
8:56 pm
so mad, i'm going to tell my -- go see this. just like, i mean, commercial you know, you can't watch something and have it be -- they hair, they tried to bring in a lot more. i answer? based on reading your book and others, to matt questions, it's flops, it's not because they were too experimental, flops were because fashion, corny and they were yesterday, and so i that's also driving change in the mainstream. >> yeah. so i guess -- kind of why onadway takes so long to get to that -- to the kind of -- the industry moved super fast between the 19 50ss 1960s, e the late
8:57 pm
between rock 'n roll rising throughout the entire country. why did broadway take so long to, you know, after all the dollies and the camelots, for hairt take so long to get there? >> would it be like a religious thing because it's so easy to go into a studio and record, as opposed to getting a cast, getting writing team, composeures to create all of these things? that.ere is >> there is certainly that, okay, there is the percolating a veryy shows, they take long time. but the other thing is, i want to pint out, there was a string all the ones you mentioned were absolutely enormous. ello dolly was one of the longest running shows of its time. so no an absolutely -- one lose sight of the fact that, just because broadway was slowly starting to lose its younger audience, doesn't mean that it it ssarily felt like
8:58 pm
absolutely had to scramble to change, right? tried over the course of the 1960s to attract young right?, >> i think we mentioned rock 'n roll. a ually, mr. president had rock 'n roll song in it. the entire state department or burst into the twist, 1950s, t, of course, in 1962, so they were a little behind the times. i think a lot of the reaction was sort of like, guys, you get rock 'n roll. you don't get the new stuff, stick to what you're doing well. doing well.t you're hello dolly is doing fine. wait a minute. we might appeal. accident.n again, hair was almost accidental. those to leave that for of you who will be leading glass n hair but those who are leading class, scribble down, it was an accident. >> the other thing, once hair it didn't opengh the flood gates.
8:59 pm
that was the beginning of many, many rock musicals. no. everyone that came after it was terrible. it was horrible and then they were like, okay, this was clearly just a fluke. gabriel, did you have a question? nick's going off question, why broadway moved more slowly then, or whatever? have been because of the audience and who they were trying to appeal to and how the moving to ience was like the more progressive kind of smaller theaters. yeah. that s worth mentioning every time they did try to bring broadway ll to the stage or every time they tried to bring the movement to the often y stage, what very happened was they tried to do it in a way that was appealing to grown-ups. rock 'n roll with by by eption of like birdie, it was cute and it was fluffy. made fun of grown-ups, rock
9:00 pm
it made fun of grown-ups' hatred of rock 'n roll. opportunity al everybody, was in on the jokes but most of the rock 'n roll, trying to berlin was bring a twist to the stage, five to seven years after the twist popular, no who? what's that going to do? were songsmes, there that were brought into broadway musicals that were like, okay, rock 'n roll. white house, isn't this rock 'n roll stupid and boring and repetitive and loud? hilarious. that's not going to attract people. that's not going to win any among young people, great, there is some rock 'n roll on broadway. i've just been insulted. right? doesn't work that way. >> with broadway, they noticed
9:01 pm
off-broadway and they may be any push fors campaigns to off off-broadway. offhere was no broadway off -- there was no money off off-broadway. there a lot of people that were off off-broadway and every time there was an audition for off-broadway, they would go. can't do the show on the table because i have again. gig.have a relationship, but it was a beneficial relationship. .am shepard got produced
9:02 pm
the groups that were funding, down with the pigs, you suck, i'm not taking your funding, they don't exist anymore. have you ever heard the theater genesis? there's a mutually beneficial relationship. a question to maybe to what you said and to see what the others think. that is the idea that in the 1960's, it was one of the first times they were influencing the main stage. i'm wondering if that is substantiated by what we have showseeing with menstrual in saloons, and going to the theater with the role of him again -- immigrant groups
9:03 pm
worried i would think there might be a pattern in which these people from the margins, african americans, are continually revitalizing and changing the product. if the 60'sdering was more of a continuity in that sense instead of a departure in the past. >> it is an excellent point. [laughter] >> where do dancers come from? they go from the street up. and other kinds of fashions -- i think the fact that broadway is receptive to these new generations, new ideas is part of what can -- does keep it dynamic. >> we will look at hamilton, how long has hip hop been in broadway before
9:04 pm
finally gets its first gigantic hit that includes some hip-hop in it? it is only taken what, 20 years? >> [indiscernible] >> right, more. >> when it comes to casting and wererytelling, the 60's influenced more from the bottom up, i believe. especially with stuff like, i'm trying to look through the list funny thing that happened, it was definitely, it was -- i'm trying to think of a specific example, but i always see it in how to succeed in something that came from -- not from theater, from outside of the editor. >> influence of other television and film? >> kind of. mind, and i think we
9:05 pm
are out of time, but do keep in mind that none of this is happening in a vacuum. the questions of off, off-broadway and broadway, still to this day, you see an off-broadway show and it is possible that in those people, there will be members of the cast off of broadway. there is an experimental company downtown -- that is very much the case back then. the number of different people that are gathering. --phen did the television so show. everyone knows each other and everyone is aware. it is a small town. >> are there any other questions, issues? we will continue to talk about the 60's. >> is it always broadway being
9:06 pm
influenced by lesser-known place? are there any cases of appropriation? >> of yeah. >> with music, if a smalltime producer does something, a well-known producer can take it and the smalltime producer does not have money. happens, although generally speaking, it is intellectual property. the director, the famous experimental director, one of the early off off companies and he did extremely well for himself in the off, off realm and he got invited to direct a bunch of plays on broadway. it wasn't like we would go downtown and watch a piece and then rip off it up here. they asked him to do what he was doing there on broadway. he wasn't able to re-create on broadway what he was doing off of broadway.
9:07 pm
if you don't make money on broadway, then they stop inviting you to come to broadway. it is a little bit more. ofhave seen examples african-americans -- but blessedly, there is more in the way of protections now. although there is constant complaining of people that steal each other's ideas. it still happens, but i think it is a little harder. there is a little more attention on off off-broadway. >> anyone else? thank you very much. we will meet again wednesday. >> thanks guys. interested in the fiddler on the roof movie, it is long but good. i met in some of you have seen it. we will be looking at fiddler on the roof and cap array --
9:08 pm
cabaret. we will talk more and the other thing we can do is talk about the bigger question, how do both of which, are set 50 years or a 100 years prior, how do they reflect 1960's america? and you will get your papers back. thank you. >> thank you. >> join us every saturday evening at 8 p.m. and midnight eastern as we join students in college classrooms to hear lectures on topics ranging from the american revolution all the way to 9/11. lectures in history are also available as podcasts. visit the website ory/podcasts or download
9:09 pm
them from itunes. book tv has featured nonfiction writers for live conversations about their books. as a special project, we are featuring best-selling fiction writers. join us live sunday, april 1 at noon with walter mosley. his most recent book is "down the river, unto the sea." plus, over 40 critically acclaimed books and mystery series. will behe programs, we taking your phone calls, tweets, and facebook messages. our special series with walter mosley, sunday, april 1, live from noon to 3 p.m. eastern on book tv. that's on c-span2. next on american history tv,
9:10 pm
military historian colonel stephen bury discusses the role of the italian commander during the african campaign. bigs the author of italian -- italian commanders at war this 45 minute long talk is a part of a symposium hosted by museum in new orleans to mark the 75th anniversary of the >>tle of cat 3 in past -- the next speaker happens to be a masters and a phd holder from the united states -- ohio university. steve is going to get up here and talk about


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on