The summer of 1939 was busy for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, one of Hollywood’s major studios, as it rolled out The Wizard of Oz, a movie musical almost two years in preparation. The budget for production and promotion was almost $3 million, making it MGM’s most expensive effort up to that time. A June radio broadcast introduced the songs and characters to the public.
By Gary Rosen
This February marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers. Though little known outside the music industry today, its creation set in motion a series of events that still reverberates in the popular music of our time.
In Anything Goes, Broadway historian Ethan Mordden takes us on a tour of the history of Broadway musicals over the past 100 years. From classical shows to Bernadette Peter’s recent turn in the 2011 production of Follies, take a tour of the evolution of the musical through the years and “all that jazz” that is has captivated audiences for ages.
The songwriting business offered few opportunities to women in the early 20th century. And jazz bandleaders, despite their own experiences with discrimination, were hardly more tolerant of female talent. Although audiences expected the leading orchestras to showcase a ‘girl singer’, women were rarely allowed to serve in other capacities, either on the bandstand or writing arrangements and compositions.
Love is in the air at Oxford University Press! As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’ve asked staff members from our offices in New York, Oxford, and Cary, NC, to share their favorite love songs. Read on for their selections, and be sure to tell us what your favorites are too. Happy Valentine’s Day!
By Todd Decker
Show Boat is back on the boards, visiting four major opera companies in a new production of yet another new version. Originally debuted on Broadway in 1927, apparently Show Boat will never stop being remade. The new production, directed by Francesca Zambello, had its premiere at the Chicago Lyric Opera a year ago, an appropriate starting place as much of the second act takes place in the Windy City.
Richard Barrios shares his list of the ten best musical films of all time.
Happy Birthday George Gershwin!
A look at the best overtures.
A closer look at Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse with help from the DNB.
An Encyclopedia of Popular Music Monday.
Oxford University Press mourns Sheldon Meyer.