Even if you watched it the first time around, this fantastic six part documentary, Broadway: The American Musical, is worth revisiting. This expansive series covers 100 years of the "Great White Way." With Mel Brooks, Carol Channing, Betty Comden, Joel Grey, Kitty Carlisle Hart, John Lahr, Arthur Laurents, Harold Prince, Stephen Sondheim, Tommy Tune, Ben Vereen, George C. Wolfe and many more, the series includes an extraordinary collection of rare archival footage, private home movies and original cast recordings.
It starts Sunday, October 7, at 10 p.m., and continues on six consecutive Sundays through November 11 (check local PBS listings).
Today, with musicals such as The Book of Mormon enjoying phenomenal box office success, revivals like The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess delighting new generations, and musical stage versions of popular films such as Once and Newsies dominating the Tony Awards, Broadway is proving yet again that its vitality and magic endure. Nominated for five 2005 Primetime Emmy Awards and winner of two, including Outstanding Nonfiction Series.
Broadway: The American Musical tells two stories: the 100-year history of musical theater and the story of its relationship to 20th-century American life. Kantor's chronological approach begins with the immigrant experience at the turn of the century, when a melting pot of voices and styles gave rise to a popular new form of entertainment. The series ends with contemporary Broadway, where big-budget new productions and revivals of classic favorites compete side by side for box office success.
Sandi Berg is also a freelance journalist and writes about television for several magazines including Written By (Writer's Guild of America), Life After 50 and Whole Life Times Magazine.