Research Catalog

[Interview with Philip Furia : raw footage]

Title
[Interview with Philip Furia : raw footage] [1999-3-17] [videorecording] / [directed by Michael Kantor]
Publication
New York, 1999.

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StatusVol/DateFormatAccessCall NumberItem Location
Videocassette 1Moving imageRestricted use NCOX 2112 Videocassette 1Performing Arts Research Collections - TOFT
Videocassette 2Moving imageRestricted use NCOX 2112 Videocassette 2Performing Arts Research Collections - TOFT

Details

Additional Authors
  • Furia, Philip, 1943-
  • Kantor, Michael, 1961-
  • Squires, Buddy
  • Broadway Film Project, Inc, donor.
  • Thirteen/WNET, donor.
Description
2 videocassettes (VHS) (82 min.) : sd., col. SP; 1/2 in.
Summary
  • Raw interview footage used for the documentary Broadway, the American musical. Author and historian Philip Furia begins by discussing composer and lyricist Irving Berlin, who grew up on Manhattan's Lower East Side, the son of a poor cantor at a synagogue; the impact of Berlin's upbringing on his development as a songwriter; his early job as a singing waiter in a saloon; the teeming immigrant culture of which he was a part, which he reflected in his early songs, and his writing of the hit song Alexander's ragtime band, in which he created a genuinely American music, Furia believes; Berlin's writing of the score for Watch your step, a 1914 musical starring Vernon and Irene Castle. The show was the first Broadway score to be written entirely in ragtime, and as such played an important role in "Americanizing" the art form, as did the energetic, vernacular laden songwriting of showman George M. Cohan. Furia discusses what the Broadway musical represents for him; the "great" era of the Broadway musical of the 1920s, '30s and '40s, during which Broadway songs and popular music were synonymous, and the songs had sophistication, wit and elegance; the "myth" of Broadway; Tin Pan Alley, an area in New York City where the sheet music publishing business was conducted, and where composers such as George and Ira Gershwin and Irving Berlin got their start; the minstrel show, a popular form of 19th century entertainment which featured whites wearing blackface makeup who performed as part of an ensemble. The minstrel show, Furia says, was eventually replaced by Vaudeville entertainment which emphasized the individual performer and his or her act, an aspect which was carried over into Broadway entertainment. Furia next discusses composer Jerome Kern, a classically trained pianist who teamed up with British humorist and lyricist P. G. Wodehouse to compose clever, colloquial songs for a series of shows at the Princess Theatre; singer Ethel Waters, whom Irving Berlin cast in his 1933 revue As thousands cheer; the musical Annie get your gun, based on an idea by lyricist Dorothy Fields, with music by Irving Berlin; Berlin's patriotism as reflected in his 1917 musical revue, Yip, yip, Yaphank, and in his writing of the song God bless America, which became the de facto national anthem; more on Dorothy Fields, one of the only women songwriters writing for the Broadway theater, who, Furia believes, was on par artistically with songwriters like Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hart. Furia then speaks about the "dream team" which brought forth Annie get your gun. The show was produced by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, directed by Josh Logan, starred Ethel Merman, with a book by Herbert & Dorothy Fields and music by Irving Berlin.
  • Discussion continues on videocassette two with the professional exchange between Gershwin, Porter, and other contemporary songwriters, which boosted their songwriting to the highest levels; Berlin's initial skepticism at his ability to write the songs for Annie get your gun; how Rodgers & Hammerstein changed the musical theater with their 1943 production of Oklahoma!, which established the principle of full integration of the story, song, and characters in a musical; the lyric writing of Ira Gershwin, and how he came to write the song Fascinating rhythm with his brother George; the sensitivity to the English language of first and second generation immigrant songwriters as demonstrated by the songs they wrote; the development of the collaboration between George and Ira Gershwin, which culminated in the scores they wrote for Hollywood movies starring Fred Astaire; the impact on Ira of George's death in 1937; the Rodgers & Hart song Manhattan, which became a nationwide hit that raised the profile of Broadway songwriting; the Depression era anthem Brother, can you spare a dime? by E. Y. (Yip) Harburg; songwriter Cole Porter, whose elegant songs evoked high society life during the 1930s and provided listeners with an escape from grim reality; Furia's favorite songs by Porter, and Porter's ability to write songs in minor, chromatic keys that evoked those of the Jewish composers with whom he was associated; what Broadway of today signifies to Furia; his early exposure to Broadway music by listening to cast albums during the 1950s; the musical melting pot of New York in the 1910s, and the impact of this on the songwriting of Irving Berlin, who "Americanized" these traditions.
Alternative Title
  • Broadway, the American musical
  • Interview with Philip Furia : Broadway film project
  • Furia/Barrett : Broadway: the American musical
Subjects
Genre/Form
  • Documentaries and factual works.
  • Musicals.
  • Unedited footage.
Note
  • The second interview conducted with Philip Furia for this documentary is available on NCOX 2136.
  • 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: Buddy Squires.
Performer (note)
  • Interviewer: Michael Kantor. Interviewee: Philip Furia.
Event (note)
  • Videotaped probably in New York, N.Y. on March 17, 1999.
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 2112
OCLC
163245777
Title
[Interview with Philip Furia : raw footage] [1999-3-17] [videorecording] / [directed by Michael Kantor]
Imprint
New York, 1999.
Credits
Cameraman: Buddy Squires.
Performer
Interviewer: Michael Kantor. Interviewee: Philip Furia.
Event
Videotaped probably in New York, N.Y. on March 17, 1999.
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
Furia, Philip, 1943- interviewee.
Kantor, Michael, 1961- interviewer.
Kantor, Michael, 1961- director.
Squires, Buddy, cameraman.
Broadway Film Project, Inc, donor.
Thirteen/WNET, donor.
Research Call Number
NCOX 2112
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