Monday 20 September 2010


The third programme in my radio documentary series, The Musical, will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 tonight at 10:00 pm and can, afterwards, be heard for the next seven days via BBC iPlayer.

Entitled 'Breaking the Mould' and presented, this week, by Michael Ball, this episode looks at shows that have revolutionised the way musicals are staged or, in the case of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, which debuted in 1943, virtually established the genre in the first place.

Among the interviewees are Paul Nicholas, Tim Rice, Richard Stilgoe, Elaine Paige, Hal Prince and Stephen Sondheim and other shows discussed include Show Boat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, The Lion King and Kander and Ebb's masterpiece (originally choreographed by the legendary Bob Fosse) Chicago...


Rob Cox said...

Co-incidentally one of the films that nearly sneaked into my top ten 'films-you-watch-over-and-over' was Fosse's 'All That Jazz'. (See earlier Sibley blog). But I don't see that film as a 'musical' which Chicago certainly is!

Brian Sibley said...

Well, I know what you mean, Rob, but the official description of All That Jazz is:

All That Jazz is a 1979 American musical film directed by Bob Fosse. The screenplay by Robert Alan Aurthur and Fosse is a semi-autobiographical fantasy based on aspects of the dancer, choreographer, and director's life and career. The film was inspired by Fosse's manic effort to edit his film Lenny while simultaneously staging his 1975 Broadway musical Chicago. It borrows its title from a Kander and Ebb tune in that production.

Its significance as a film is beyond question (In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry; in 2006, it ranked #14 on the American Film Institute's Greatest Movie Musicals list) and, interestingly, one of its stars Ann Reinking, who had also appeared in the original production of Chicago re-choreographed that show for its 1996 production – which is the one still playing in London.

Sorry for such a long answer... :(

SharonM said...

Enjoyed the programme very much - you've put so much work into the series.
And I'll be going to bed singing some of the tunes.

Rob Cox said...

And I know what you mean Brian. It's just that the music seems incidental to the narrative of the screenplay rather than, in most musicals, being the linchpin of the film. Maybe I'm just trying to justify my own prejudices. I hate musicals!

I can live with opera. The convention there is that everything is sung. No problem. But in musicals, belief has to be suspended (at a second level) as narrative/dialogue gives way to song. When the music is uniformly excellent (very rare but maybe - eg West Side Story) then possibly the genre survives but invariably, for this old curmudgeon, it just doesn't work! Chim-chiminee-chim-chimenee-chim-chim-cheroo ..... Please - do me a favour!!!!!!!! This is just rubbish!!! Surely?

Sheila said...

As today's Guardian reviewer says - "really rather good ... great tracks and fascinating details".

Only one complaint: I've still got All that Jazz running through my head!

Steven Hartley said...

Ah yes Chicago, I like the music there and I would like to see it on Broadway - Wasn't the film 'All That Jazz' with Roy Schneider named after the song?