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[Interview with Sheldon Harnick : raw footage]

Author: Sheldon Harnick; Michael Kantor; Buddy Squires
Publisher: New York , 1998.
Edition/Format:   VHS video : VHS tape   Visual material : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Raw interview footage used for the documentary Broadway, the American musical. Lyricist Sheldon Harnick speaks about his career, and the American musical. He begins with the 1964 musical Fiddler on the roof, on which he collaborated with composer Jerry Bock, with a book by Joseph Stein. The musical is based on Tevye and his Daughters, or Tevye the Milkman, and other stories originally published by the Russian Jewish
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Details

Genre/Form: Documentaries and factual works
Musicals
Unedited footage
Interviews
Named Person: Sheldon Harnick; Jerry Bock; Jerry Bock; Jerome Robbins; George Abbott; Harold Prince; Richard Rodgers; Stephen Sondheim; George Abbott; Jerry Bock; Sheldon Harnick; Harold Prince; Jerome Robbins; Richard Rodgers; Stephen Sondheim
Material Type: Videorecording
Document Type: Visual material
All Authors / Contributors: Sheldon Harnick; Michael Kantor; Buddy Squires
OCLC Number: 164432553
Notes: Copy of transcript available.
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: Cameraman: Buddy Squires.
Performer(s): Interviewer: Michael Kantor. Interviewee: Sheldon Harnick.
Event notes: Videotaped in New York, N.Y. on August 5, 1998.
Description: 4 videocassettes (VHS) (112 min.) : sd., col. SP ; 1/2 in.
Other Titles: Broadway, the American musical
Harnick interview :

Abstract:

Raw interview footage used for the documentary Broadway, the American musical. Lyricist Sheldon Harnick speaks about his career, and the American musical. He begins with the 1964 musical Fiddler on the roof, on which he collaborated with composer Jerry Bock, with a book by Joseph Stein. The musical is based on Tevye and his Daughters, or Tevye the Milkman, and other stories originally published by the Russian Jewish author Sholom Aleichem in 1894. Harnick discusses how the show's creators decided on the title, how producer Harold Prince raised money for the production, and the role of Jerome Robbins, the show's director and choreographer, in bringing the show together, from its preproduction brainstorming sessions to rehearsals. Robbins, Harnick says, was a lovable, sociable, brilliant and imaginative perfectionist who had a hand in every aspect of the production from its orchestrations to scenery. Harnick discusses his writing of the song Sunrise, sunset; Robbins' decision following Fiddler to leave musical theater and choreograph for ballet; the significance of the lyric "Tradition" to the show; its opening number "Tradition," which sets up the rest of the show for the audience; the aspects of the show that make it great, including its score and its book by Stein; the show's appeal to amateur theater groups; why in his view there are so many Jewish writers in the musical theater; the use of Yiddish and Hebrew words in Fiddler; what Broadway evoked for him as a child, and what it signifies to him now; the high costs of producing a show, and his views on the health of Broadway, currently dominated by blockbuster hits; the presence of jazz and other American forms of popular music, which he feels give the musical its distinctly "American" flavor; and the craft and technique of lyric writing.

Interview continues on videocassette two with discussion on the changing preference, since Fiddler and Hello, Dolly!, for rock oriented music in the Broadway musical; his description of the musical over time; his views on lyricists Lorenz Hart, Ira Gershwin, and E. Y. (Yip) Harburg; his beginnings as lyricist in the 1950s, newly arrived in New York City from Chicago, intent on writing songs that were socially conscious; lyricist Oscar Hammerstein; his collaboration with composer Jerry Bock; shows he has written which are based in New York, such as the musical Fiorello!, about Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia; theatrical producer and director George Abbott, with whom he worked on Fiorello!; the qualities which in his view make a musical successful; his early struggles to become a successful lyricist; the Broadway revue of the 1920s, '30s and '40s, which was gradually subsumed by television variety shows, and then reemerged on Broadway in an altered form in 1970s; the kinds of theatrical works he admires; his project She loves me which featured an operatic score by Bock; the influence a success on the kinds of shows which get produced; his preference for writing period scores, rather than ones featuring popular rock music; and what he views as the landmark qualities of the musical Hair.

Interview continues on videocassette three with discussion on his experience working with Richard Rodgers on the 1976 musical Rex; the legacy of Broadway composer Andrew Lloyd Webber; the creative abilities of director Harold Prince with whom he also worked on the show She loves me; and what he sees as the future of Broadway, currently an expensive environment for producers, in which corporations play an increased role.

Interview concludes on videocassette four with his views on Stephen Sondheim's artistry as a composer and lyricist for the musical theater.

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