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Broadway and Popular Music

The Rise and Fall of the Tin Pan Alley Model


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The Language of Film 1

From Irving Berlin to Richard Rodgers

Friday, March 25, 2022, 10am
John and Jeanne Rowe Performance and Learning Center
Greg Brown, lecturer

For more than a half-century, the music of Broadway defined popular culture in the United States, beginning with the Tin Pan Alley writers of the early 20th century and continuing through the apex of Broadway’s “Golden Age” at mid-century. This lecture will trace the origins of Broadway’s cultural dominance, reaching its apotheosis in the works of artists like Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein and the songwriting duo of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Come learn about the origins of the American songbook as standardized and popularized by some of musical theater’s most beloved creators.

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The Language of Film 2

The Traditionalists and The Conceptualists

Monday, March 28, 2022, 10am
John and Jeanne Rowe Performance and Learning Center
Greg Brown, lecturer

As America exited out of mid-century, massive change, both cultural and political, radically altered the artistic landscape. As the music of R&B and rock n’ roll artists topped the charts, Broadway writers lost their stronghold on popular taste making. And yet out of this shift came some of the most creative minds of the musical theater. While some artists embraced the traditions of midcentury writing styles, such as Jerry Herman, others such as Galt MacDermot experimented with how these new musical forms might make their way into the theater. And yet a third group of writers, , including Stephen Sondheim, John Kander and Fred Ebb, found artistic inspiration in forging a new path, highly conceptual in its formation, which belonged entirely to neither the musical past nor its present. Come learn about one of the most fascinating eras in musical theater’s history, during which a shifting world demanded new responses from its most prominent artists.

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