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[Interview with Gerald Schoenfeld : raw footage]

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

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StatusVol/DateFormatAccessCall NumberItem Location
Videocassette 1Moving imageRestricted use NCOX 2150 Videocassette 1Performing Arts Research Collections - TOFT
Videocassette 2Moving imageRestricted use NCOX 2150 Videocassette 2Performing Arts Research Collections - TOFT

Details

Additional Authors
  • Schoenfeld, Gerald, 1924-2008
  • Kantor, Michael, 1961-
  • Broadway Film Project, Inc, donor.
  • Thirteen/WNET, donor.
Description
2 videocassettes (VHS) (94 min.) : sd., col. SP; 1/2 in.
Summary
  • Raw interview footage used for the documentary Broadway, the American musical. Gerald Schoenfeld, chairman of the Shubert Organization, discusses the business of Broadway. Discussion begins with the Shubert Organization's founders, brothers Sam S., Lee, and Jacob J. who came from Syracuse, N.Y. to begin producing stage shows in New York City in 1900. They produced numerous shows and began acquiring theaters. After Sam Shubert died in 1915, the two remaining brothers became theatre moguls with a nationwide presence. Without the Shuberts, according to Schoenfeld, "There would be no American theater as we know it today." The Shuberts produced plays and musicals, featuring stars they discovered such as Eddie Cantor, May West, Marilyn Miller, Cary Grant, and Al Jolson, whose performances at the Winter Garden Theatre captivated fans. Schoenfeld also discusses the financing of theater construction on Broadway; the destruction of some historic theaters and the landmarking of others; the theater's competition with various forms of media; the Shubert Organization's 16 Broadway theaters, and the challenges of keeping their seats filled. The business of Broadway, he says, is unpredictible, risky and expensive. It is susceptible to critical opinion. Producers must also contend with 14 unions and guilds, whose work rules can discourage cost cutting measures. Schoenfeld speaks of the lack of government support for the Broadway theater industry; the theater's dual role as a business and an art form; the costs of mounting a musical production, and the current methods of financing it. These, Schoenfeld says, have resulted in slower and smaller returns both for investors and the theater, which in turn has made it too expensive for producers to sponsor road company productions for their shows. He speaks about the refurbishing of the Winter Garden Theatre for its 1982 production of Cats, and how the show became highly profitable for the theater and its investors. Discussion on tape one ends at 46 min.
  • Discussion resumes on tape two with the gradual disappearance of individual producers such as David Merrick; the decline of Broadway and Times Square, which was beset by crime, drugs and prostitution during the 1970s; the 1982 battle by theater activists to prevent the demolition of two historic Broadway theaters, the Helen Hayes the Morosco, for the construction of a Marriott hotel. Schoenfeld discusses the economic benefits he believes the hotel has brought to Broadway and his support of its construction, and speaks about negative effects on theater owners of the ensuing decision to landmark the remaining Broadway theaters. Discussion continues with A chorus line, one of the first musicals to succeed on Broadway after originating in a nonprofit theater. Produced by Michael Bennett and Joseph Papp, the show premiered at the Public Theater in New York and moved to the Shubert Theatre where it ran for fifteen years. The production rescued the Shubert Organization from financial distress, Schoenfeld says, and also revitalized the business of the Broadway road company production. Remaining topics include his views on the musical Hair, which contained nudity; the history of nudity in the Broadway theater, as well as the impact on Times Square of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling which upheld nude dancing as free expression; his admiration for the show The producers; the current trend of having large groups of producers associated with a single show; the effect of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on Broadway theatergoing, tourism and ticket sales; Broadway's dependence on hit shows to produce returns for investors; the cyclical nature of the Broadway business, and the difficulty of predicting future hits; his favorite Shubert Theaters and shows; Broadway as snonymous with New York City, and the musical as symbolic of America. Discussion ends on tape two ca. 43 min. Audio-only discussion continues for several more minutes with the demise of the practice of opening shows out of town.
Alternative Title
  • Broadway, the American musical
  • Broadway: the American musical
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.
Performer (note)
  • Interviewer: Michael Kantor. Interviewee: Gerald Schoenfeld.
Event (note)
  • Videotaped at the Shubert Theatre in New York, N.Y. on May 2, 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 2150
OCLC
140294615
Title
[Interview with Gerald Schoenfeld : raw footage] [videorecording] / [directed by Michael Kantor]
Imprint
New York, 2003.
Performer
Interviewer: Michael Kantor. Interviewee: Gerald Schoenfeld.
Event
Videotaped at the Shubert Theatre in New York, N.Y. on May 2, 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
Schoenfeld, Gerald, 1924-2008, interviewee.
Kantor, Michael, 1961- interviewer.
Kantor, Michael, 1961- director.
Broadway Film Project, Inc, donor.
Thirteen/WNET, donor.
Research Call Number
NCOX 2150
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