Top Stars Tell Broadway's Golden Tale; Fan Lovingly Documents 100 Performers' Stories

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 6, 2004 | Go to article overview

Top Stars Tell Broadway's Golden Tale; Fan Lovingly Documents 100 Performers' Stories


Byline: Jayne Blanchard, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Growing up in Beech Grove, Ind., filmmaker Rick McKay ingested a steady diet of cast albums and backstage musicals and dramas, such as "All About Eve," "Bandwagon," and "Royal Wedding." His notion of New York was a bustling, theater-mad place, where "South Pacific" played on one corner, and across the street was "Death of a Salesmen," "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Carnival."

In 1981, Mr. McKay moved to Manhattan, half expecting to see Oscar Levant holding court at Sardi's, Carol Lawrence and Lainie Kazan rhumba-ing up a storm at the Copacabana and every single marquee on Broadway lit up with shows from Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Leonard Bernstein, and Cole Porter.

Instead, he found "Cats," rock musicals and wan British imports. Times Square was ablaze in porno theaters, and such nightclubs as the Copacabana and the Latin Quarter had long been shuttered.

Mr. McKay wondered if the golden age of Broadway - the 1930s through the '60s - had ever really existed, or whether it was, instead, some clever ruse by a writer at the New Yorker to lure impressionable young theater buffs to the Big Apple.

He also fantasized sitting down with stage legends and asking them what it had really been like. The result of his fantasy is the old-timey but entertaining film, "Broadway: The Golden Age."

With a minuscule budget, no crew, and a digital camera, Mr. McKay hunted down and interviewed more than 100 former Broadway stars, from Barbara Cook, Ben Gazzara, and Elaine Stritch to Robert Goulet, Carol Burnett, Gwen Verdon and Uta Hagen.

While the abundant archival footage fascinates - John Raitt belting out the "Soliloquy" from "Carousel" with trembly emotion will bring tears to your eyes - the documentary's most beguiling aspect is the interviews.

Carol Burnett tells of coming cross-country from California as a star-struck teenager, knowing nothing about New York except the Algonquin Hotel's famed Round Table. She checked in there with her cardboard suitcase for $9 a night (a princely sum in those days), called her mother and grandmother collect, sat on the bed and cried. Miss Burnett was rescued the next day by a fellow thespian, who directed her to the boarding house that inspired the movie "Stage Door." There, she slept on a cot in a room with four other girls, and they all chipped in $5 to buy a black dress they wore for auditions.

Shirley MacLaine recounts being so poor as a Broadway dancer she subsisted on graham crackers and peanut butter and "free" lemonade (lemon slices, sugar, and water) from the automat. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Top Stars Tell Broadway's Golden Tale; Fan Lovingly Documents 100 Performers' Stories
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.