Research Catalog

[Interview with Ben Vereen : raw footage]

Title
[Interview with Ben Vereen : raw footage] [videorecording] / [directed by Michael Kantor]
Publication
New York, 2003.

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StatusVol/DateFormatAccessCall NumberItem Location
Videocassette 1Moving imageRestricted use NCOX 2142 Videocassette 1Performing Arts Research Collections - TOFT

Details

Additional Authors
  • Vereen, Ben
  • Kantor, Michael, 1961-
  • Hunt, Mead
  • Broadway Film Project, Inc, donor.
  • Thirteen/WNET, donor.
Description
2 videocassettes (VHS) (58 min.) : sd., col. SP; 1/2 in.
Summary
  • Raw interview footage used for the documentary Broadway, the American musical. Actor, dancer and singer Ben Vereen discusses the American musical. Topics of discussion include performing on Broadway as the pinnacle of achievement for the performer; preparing for a show, and his feelings on opening night; his motivation as a performer; the satisfaction of dancing for a Broadway audience; his training and early influences, such as a trio called Tip, Tap and Toe who would tap dance and shine shoes in the shoeshine parlor they ran in his childhood neighborhood in Brooklyn, making up his own dances and then taking lessons at the Green Dance Studio in Brooklyn, attending the High School of the Performing Arts, which caused him to gravitate to modern dance and ballet, looking up to dancers like Arthur Mitchell, Alvin Ailey, Jo Jo Smith and Hymie Rogers, as well as television and movie stars like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Sammy Davis Jr., and his studies with teachers Norman Walker, David Wood, and Gertrude Shurr; musicals of the 1960s like Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and Inner City Mother Goose, which introduced social consciousness into the theater; the 1960s during which he and his contemporaries focused on effecting social change; his Broadway roles in Pipin, Hair, and Jesus Christ Superstar, in which he played Herod; the controversy surrounding Jesus Christ Superstar, when the show was at first denounced as blasphemous by the church; the visionary production and direction of the show by Tom O'Horgan, and its book and lyrics by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber; the "revolutionary" casting of Black performers by O'Horgan and Bob Fosse; the contributions of early 20th century Black performers like Bert Williams who "took the knocks" in order for Black performers to gain acceptance; Williams' obligation to wear blackface makeup in order to perform; his widely popular tours in Europe where he made the statement that being Black in America was an "inconvenience"; the Minstrel show, in which White entertainers wearing blackface makeup portrayed Blacks in stereotypical and often disparaging ways, and its influence on the work of Bert Williams and his partner George Walker; Vaudeville's demand for multi-talented performers, and how this led to the development of musical comedy; the significance the early Black musicals Shuffle along and In Dahomey, written by and starring Bert Williams; more on Williams who was a star performer in the Zeigfeld Follies for ten years, yet faced racism from his colleagues as well as from strangers; the source of his greatness in his timing and his material; more on Fosse, a friend and a "task master," who demanded perfection from performers. Audio-only discussion begins ca. 45 min. and continues for about one minute.
  • Discussion resumes with more on O'Horgan, whom Vereen believes was responsible for breaking the "fourth wall," of a Broadway production, in which the cast leaves the stage to move about the theater and interact with the audience; more on what it was like to work with Fosse; the upsurge of vibrant Black productions on Broadway during the 1970s, and the continued need for support of African Americans in the theater; the redevelopment of Times Square; the American musical as a product of a people who like to tell their stories in song.
Alternative Title
  • Broadway, the American musical
  • Broadway: the American musical : Ben Vereen
Subjects
Genre/Form
  • Documentaries and factual works.
  • Musicals.
  • Unedited footage.
Note
  • This interview is one of a group of interviews with 90 individuals used in making the documentary Broadway, the American musical. The completed production is available on NCOX 2058.
  • Credits for completed production from pbs.org: A film by Michael Kantor ; produced by Jeff Dupre, Michael Kantor and Sally Rosenthal ; written by Marc Fields, Michael Kantor, Laurence Maslon, and JoAnne Young ; directed by Michael Kantor.
  • Time code on frame.
  • Contains various takes, at occasional brief intervals, audio continues without sound.
Credits (note)
  • Cameraman: Mead Hunt.
Performer (note)
  • Interviewer: Michael Kantor. Interviewee: Ben Vereen.
Event (note)
  • Videotaped in New York, N.Y. on February 11, 2003.
Biography (note)
  • Broadway, the American musical, which aired on PBS in October 2004, is a documentary chronicling the entire history of a unique American art form, the Broadway musical. Each of its six episodes covers a different era in American theater history, and features the Broadway shows and songs which defined the period. The series draws on feature films, television broadcasts, archival news footage, original cast recordings, still photos, diaries, journals, first-person accounts, and on-camera interviews with many of the principals involved in the development of the genre.
Call Number
NCOX 2142
OCLC
128234403
Title
[Interview with Ben Vereen : raw footage] [videorecording] / [directed by Michael Kantor]
Imprint
New York, 2003.
Credits
Cameraman: Mead Hunt.
Performer
Interviewer: Michael Kantor. Interviewee: Ben Vereen.
Event
Videotaped in New York, N.Y. on February 11, 2003.
Biography
Broadway, the American musical, which aired on PBS in October 2004, is a documentary chronicling the entire history of a unique American art form, the Broadway musical. Each of its six episodes covers a different era in American theater history, and features the Broadway shows and songs which defined the period. The series draws on feature films, television broadcasts, archival news footage, original cast recordings, still photos, diaries, journals, first-person accounts, and on-camera interviews with many of the principals involved in the development of the genre.
Local Note
Gift of Broadway Film Project, Inc. and Thirteen/WNET, 2005.
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Added Author
Vereen, Ben, interviewee.
Kantor, Michael, 1961- interviewer.
Kantor, Michael, 1961- director.
Hunt, Mead, cameraman.
Broadway Film Project, Inc, donor.
Thirteen/WNET, donor.
Research Call Number
NCOX 2142
View in Legacy Catalog