Remembering Ballroom

A Broadway musical that failed to run, but that has a great deal of love and affection from die-hard Broadway fans, is the 1978 Ballroom. Drawing its inspiration from the 1975 made for TV film Queen of the Stardust Ballroom written by Jerome Kass, the musical was director-choreographer Michael Bennett’s follow-up to his masterwork A Chorus Line. Unfortunately, the show struggled to find an audience but left behind a handful of warm memories for those who could appreciate its charms.

Ranking Disney on Broadway: Celebrating and Analyzing 25 Years on the Great White Way

It is hard to believe that it has been 25 years since Disney produced its first musical on Broadway, changing the trajectory of family musicals (and Times Square) forever. Today, I take a look at the nine musicals Disney Theatricals have brought to the Great White Way, offering my opinions on what worked, what didn’t, and rank the titles in order of my least favorite to my most favorite. All opinions are my own and please note that, though I look at these nine with a critical eye, I find something wonderful in everything Disney has to offer. This list includes only musicals that have made it to Broadway (no Freaky FridayThe Hunchback of Notre DameHercules, or The Jungle Book) and no concerts (sorry King David). Stay with me as I work my way to my choice for #1. 

Remembering Two By Two

When the groundbreaking composing team of Rodgers and Hammerstein came to an end with Hammerstein’s death in 1960, Rodgers spent the balance of his career trying to find a lyricist with whom he could achieve similar magic. A decade later, Rodgers was still searching when he paired with lyricist Martin Charnin for the musical Two By TwoTwo By Two was based on the Clifford Odets play The Flowering Peach (adapted by Peter Stone) that followed the biblical character of Noah and his family as they prepare for the flood, build an ark, and set sail with a menagerie of animals, one male and one female of each species. 

Remembering High Button Shoes

Jule Styne was a one of the great composers for the Broadway musical stage, having penned the melodies for such classic scores as Gentlemen Prefer BlondesBells Are RingingGypsy, and Funny Girl. Styne’s first Broadway score, however came in the form of the breezy and bright High Button Shoes, which premiered in 1947. Paired with lyricist Sammy Cahn, the show is best remembered as the musical that introduced that showtune classic “Papa, Won’t You Dance with Me?” and the clever dance sequences staged by Jerome Robbins.