Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Broadway - The Golden Age by the Legends Who Were There|
Actors: Marlon Brando, Bonnie Franklin, Tammy Grimes, Uta Hagen, Al Hirschfeld
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Studio: Sony Music Release Date: 11/09/2004
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Cynthia S. from LOS ANGELES, CA
Reviewed on 9/28/2011...
This is a great DVD for anyone who is interested in the Golden Age of Breadway ! Some of the great stars of the era are featured.Very enjoyable.
CURTAIN RISES ONCE AGAIN ON THE GOLDEN AGE OF BROADWAY
Alan W. Petrucelli | THE ENTERTAINMENT REPORT (ALAN W. PETRUCELLI) | 10/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It would be easy, perhaps too easy but all together appropriate, to sing Rick McKay's praises. We could say that "he dreamed a dream of days gone by." Or that he "had a dream/a dream about you baby/It's gonna come true baby." Or "to dream the impossible dream " It's only fitting that McKay's impossible dream came true, a dream that began while he was growing up in the '60s in Beech Grove, Indiana. As a child, he read and wondered about the neon lights of Broadway. He wanted to know about the so-called Golden Age of Broadway, when Carol and Gwen and Chita and Robert and Ethel and John and Angela and Alfred and other luminaries lit up the marquees; about the days and nights when a seat in the balcony cost less than a first-run movie ticket; about the plays and musicals that had people lining up before the Great White Way became such a fabulously famous, and too often colorless, invalid. Some people can be content, playing bingo and paying rent. Not Rick McKay. In 1981, he moved to New York, wishing for a theatrical future and hoping to document the past. Armed with a camera, a potent Rolodex and unbridled perseverance, he set out to find as many Broadway legends as he could to question them about one thing: Was there really a Golden Age of Broadway? And if so, what happened to it? He wrote letters. A few responded. One --- Gwen Verdon --- dropped by his apartment, where McKay interviewed her with his hand-held camera. (It became the final interview Verdon did before her death.) For five years, McKay persevered, interviewing whomever he could wherever he could, going to England to chase down Jeremy Irons, traveling nearly six hours by bus to meet Maureen Stapleton at her New England home --- and to be greeted at the door with "Who the f--- is that?" Whenever the money ran out, McKay hosted fundraising parties and sold his personal possession; his piano went for $1,700. He eventually ended up with 250 hours of footage that he edited (on the Murphy bed of his teeny apartment) down to the 111-minute documentary, "Broadway: The Golden Age." A valentine that's as historical as it is entertaining, Broadway pays homage to the parade that passed by ... and to those folk who are today passed by and to those who have passed on to the Great Green Room in the Sky. The flick is crammed with towering theatrical talents from the '40s through the '60s ... a veritable Playbill of four-star names, from A (Abbott, George) to Z (Ziemba, Karen), with a middle stage crammed with 98 more, including Julie Harris and Carol Burnett and John Raitt and Elaine Stritch and Shirley MacLaine and Angela Lansbury and Chita Rivera and John Raitt and Kander and Ebb and Comden and Green and Harold Prince and Stephen Sondheim and ... well, you get the idea. But "Broadway: The Golden Age" is so much more than a talking-head talkfest of 100 sterling legends reminiscing about those 24-karat decades. The film's divided into several "chapters" (such as "The First Time," "Getting the Job," "The Days of Out-of-Town Previews"), and McKay intercuts memories with music, rare archival footage, home movies, newsreels, videotapes and film clips and theatrical trailers. Some of the footage is exceedingly rare: I gasped when viewing Laurette Taylor in her 1938 screen test for David O. Selznick, the only existing sound film she ever made. I cried while watching Bob Fosse assisting his then-wife Gwen Verdon in a "Whatever Lola Wants" run through from "Damn Yankees." Ben Gazzara as Brick in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" mesmerized me in footage everyone (including the actor) was certain did not exist. The stories told are passionate and priceless. Some will break your heart. Some will make you weep. Others amuse, few annoy. The actors talk about first jobs, missed roles, big breaks, empty stomachs and emptier pockets, disappointment and despair, being hired and fired, hope and honor, famous co-stars (and sometimes bedmates), out-of-town try-outs and the days when performers didn¹t need microphones. They talk from their hearts and souls as only show folk do. Ben Gazzara talks about his alcohol-sodden affair with Elaine Stritch and muses (in a most loving way): "You'd look at her and think, 'How much can one person drink?'" Later, when most of the then-struggling artists remember the days of hanging out at Walgreens, Stritch barks: "I never went through that drugstore period,. I went to saloons." (Make sure you stay until the very end of the film: Stritch gets the last comment ... and what a doozy it is!) Marian Seldes cites Laurette Taylor, Kim Stanley and Geraldine Page as the theater's three finest actresses. Shirley MacLaine reveals that she became the first Broadway star to utter a certain scatological four-letter word on stage (when she dropped her hat during the now-legendary "Steam Heat" number of "The Pajama Game) ... and how she survived on lemonade ... with the lemons, water and sugar, free for the taking at the Automat. Julie Harris openly weeps when she recalls seeing Ethel Waters on stage for the first time. Carol Burnett recalls how she and her three roommates had so little money that they shared a "rehearsal" dress whoever got the job paid for its dry cleaning. Some of the stories didn't make the cut (McKay is working on a sequel, "Broadway: The Next Generation.")Here's one for starters: McKay remembers chatting with Charles Nelson Reilly. "He told me that the night before our interview, he had watched Julie Harris in "The Member of the Wedding," Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in "The Fourposter," Laurence Olivier in "The Entertainer" and Laurette Taylor in "The Glass Menagerie," McKay recalls. "Charlie said, `Those films are clearer than my tape of `All About Eve,' because they're up here --- and then he touched his head. That's what you must tell people `that they will never forget what happens to them in the theater.'""
Words fail me...
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 01/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BROADWAY THE GOLDEN AGE is a must-see for all serious admirers and fans of theatre. Rick McKay spent several years tracking down and interviewing almost every surviving Broadway star of the Golden Age to share their entertaining, gripping and often very emotional reminisces.
Virtually everybody is included, with highlights being the late great Gwen Verdon (SWEET CHARITY, REDHEAD, CHICAGO, CAN-CAN, DAMN YANKEES), Jerry Orbach (CARNIVAL!, PROMISES PROMISES, CHICAGO) and Uta Hagen (STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE).
The film is peppered with juicy bits of gossip and info, with Shirley MacLaine, John Raitt and Janis Paige all recounting MacLaine's rise to fame following her historic job of understudying Carol Haney in THE PAJAMA GAME. Angela Lansbury fighting tool and nail for the role of MAME and Lainie Kazan being replaced by one of her closest friends, Michele Lee, in SEESAW.
I almost fell out of my chair when rare filmed footage of Ethel Merman in GYPSY and Angela Lansbury in MAME flashed (all-too-briefly) across the screen, and howled with laughter at some of the jokes cracked by Elaine Stritch and Robert Morse.
This release should be a mandatory purchase for anyone who cares about theatre. I was so moved by the end that I was speechless....I'm still speechless. This is more than a documentary, it's a life-changing experience.
This Year's Christmas Gift -- A Gem. MJ Alexander
MJ Alexander | New York, NY | 11/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Award winning documentary filmmaker Rick McKay, who made the definate profile of Elaine Stritch for PBS's "Egg" series, has created one of the most illuminating, exhilaring and memorable movies of the year. After World War II America's great playwrights were writing their best plays, Ethel Merman was in her prime and talented aspiring actors and actresses flocked to New York to study acting with dreams of making it on Broadway. McKay captures the heady period with brilliantly selected rare archival footage and intimate interviews with over 100 theater legends.
McKay is obviously knowledgable about theater history and show business lore and demonstrates a remarkable rapport with his subjects.
The interviews are charming, revealing and from the heart, and the actors certainly know how to tell a good story. McKay has shaped the documentary into segments which address coming to New York, auditions, the impact on young actors of such unique theater stars as Laurette Taylor, Marlon Brando, and Kim Stanley (with exceptionally rare performance footage of each) the late night hangouts, and a myriad of others which zip by. McKay brings to life a vibrant, magical world that has changed forever.
Unlike the PBS series "Broadway The American Musical" which was a conventional textbook-like TV documentary, "Broadway The Golden Age" captures the flavor of a unique period in American history (and reminds me of Jan Morris's wonderful book "Manhattan '45")in a highly original style. It makes you laugh (especially at Shirley MacLaine's jest at her own expense), applaud (for John Raitt's "Solioquy") and cry (for a lost era and golden age).
What a perfect Christmas present! It's what I'm giving this season.