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The Broadway Musical from

Show Boat to Sondheim

and Lloyd Webber


Geoffrey Block

Oxford University Press, Inc., publishes works that further

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Copyright © 1997, 2009 by Oxford University Press, Inc.

Published by Oxford University Press, Inc.

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Oxford is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,

stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means,

electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,

without the prior permission of Oxford University Press.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Block, Geoffrey Holden, 1948–

Enchanted evenings: the Broadway musical from Show Boat

to Sondheim and Lloyd Webber / Geoffrey Block.—2nd ed.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978-0-19-538400-0 (pbk.)

1. Musicals—New York (State)—New York—History and criticism. I. Title.

ML1711.8.N3B56 2009

782.1′4097471—dc22   2009003980

Visit the companion website at: www.oup.com/us/enchantedevenings

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Printed in the United States of America

on acid-free paper

First Edition

To the beloved memory of


Best friend, best man,

Godfather to Jessamyn and (in spirit) to Eliza

Second Edition

To the memory of my beloved parents

RUTH BLOCK (1913–2007) AND

STANLEY BLOCK (1906–2008)

Devoted wife and husband to each other, in-laws to Jacqueline,

and grandparents to Jessamyn and Eliza


Preface to the First Edition

A New Preface


Using the Enchanted Evenings Website www.oup.com/us/enchantedevenings


1. Introduction: Setting the Stage

Act I: Before Rodgers and Hammerstein

2. Show Boat: In the Beginning

3. Anything Goes: Songs Ten, Book Three

4. Porgy and Bess: Broadway Opera

5. On Your Toes and Pal Joey: Dance Gets into the Act and “Sweet Water from a Foul Well”

6. The Cradle Will Rock: A Labor Musical for Art’s Sake

7. Lady in the Dark and One Touch of Venus: The Broadway Stranger and His American Dreams

8. Stage versus Screen (1): Before Rodgers and Hammerstein

Act II: The Broadway Musical after Oklahoma!

9. Carousel: The Invasion of the Integrated Musical

10. Kiss Me, Kate: The Taming of Cole Porter

11. Guys and Dolls and The Most Happy Fella: The Greater Loesser

12. My Fair Lady: From Pygmalion to Cinderella

13. West Side Story: The Very Model of a Major Musical

14. Stage versus Screen (2): After Oklahoma!

Epilogue: The Age of Sondheim and Lloyd Webber

15. Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Sunday in the Park with George: Happily Ever After West Side Story with Sondheim

16. The Phantom of the Opera: The Reigning Champion of Broadway

Selected Bibliography


Available online at www.oup.com/us/enchantedevenings


Discography and Filmography: Selected Original, Revival, Film, and Studio Casts

Appendix A: Sources, Published Librettos, and Vocal Scores

Appendix B: Long Runs: Decade by Decade 1920s–2000s

Appendix C: The Forty Longest-Running Musicals on Broadway

1920–1959 and 1920–2008

Appendix D: Show Boat: 1927–1994

Broadway 1927

Principal Changes in Selected Stage Productions and Films (1928–1994)

Manuscript Sources for Ravenal’s Entrance and Meeting with Magnolia

Appendix E: Anything Goes: 1934, 1962, and 1987

Broadway 1934

Off-Broadway Revival 1962

Vivian Beaumont Revival 1987

Appendix F: Porgy and Bess: Songs, Arias, and Themes (1935)

Appendix G: On Your Toes: Broadway 1936 and Broadway Revival 1983

Appendix H: Pal Joey: Broadway 1940 and Broadway Revival 1952

Appendix I: The Cradle Will Rock (1937)

Appendix J: Lady in the Dark (1941)

Appendix K: One Touch of Venus (1943)

Appendix L: Carousel (1945)

Appendix M: Kiss Me, Kate (1948)

Spewack Libretto Draft (May 28, 1948)

Appendix N: Guys and Dolls (1950)

Appendix O: The Most Happy Fella (1956)

Appendix P: My Fair Lady (1956)

Appendix Q: West Side Story (1957)

Libretto Drafts 1 (January 1956) and 2 (Spring 1956)

Appendix R: Follies: Broadway 1971 and London Revival 1987

Broadway 1971

London Revival 1987

Appendix S: Sweeney Todd (1979)

Thematic Reminiscences in Sweeney Todd Final Sequence Beginning with “City of Fire!”

Appendix T: Sunday in the Park with George (1984)

Appendix U: The Phantom of the Opera (1988)

Outline of The Phantom of the Opera, Act I, Scenes 5 and 6

Outline of The Phantom of the Opera, Act II, Scene 7



In many ways the preparation of this book brings me back to my childhood, where Rodgers and Hammerstein as well as Bach and Beethoven were frequent and compatible visitors. I cannot remember a time when my father, a professional jazz violinist and part-time lawyer (before he metamorphosed into a full-time attorney and part-time classical violinist), was not playing Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” on the piano, invariably in the key of E . Like many Americans in the 1950s, our family record library included the heavy shellac 78 R.P.M. boxed album of South Pacific with Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza and the lighter 33 R.P.M. cast album of Carousel with Jan Clayton and John Raitt. A major event was the arrival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! and South Pacific in their newly released film versions. Keeping in tune with Rodgers and Hammerstein mania, I played every note and memorized many words of the songs contained in The Rodgers and Hammerstein Song Book and read Hammerstein’s librettos in the (then) readily obtainable Modern Library edition of Six Plays by Rodgers & Hammerstein.1

My family was one of the eighteen million to purchase the cast album of My Fair Lady, and my sister quickly mastered the dialect and memorized the lyrics for all the roles. With the dawn of the stereo era in the late 1950s, we purchased The Music Man to test out our new portable KLH record player.2 My parents, transplanted New Yorkers who settled near San Francisco, would see the traveling versions of Broadway shows, and by the early 1960s they began to take their offspring along.

Musicals created before the era of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe were less known. Only

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