Ethan Mordden Appears on THEATER TALK Today
Theater historian and prolific author Ethan Mordden is this week's guest on THEATER TALK, discussing his newest book with co-hosts Michael Riedel of the New York Post and producer Susan Haskins. The witty and insightful writer, a true aficionado of and expert on musical theater, offers an overview of the art form's evolution, which he chronicles in Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theatre, a comprehensive overview of the great American art form.
The Ethan Mordden edition of THEATER TALK premieres in the New York metropolitan area today, October 4 (2013) at 1 AM (Saturday morning) on Thirteen/PBS, and continues on CUNY TV* Saturday at 8:30 PM, Sunday at 12:30 PM, and Monday at 7:30 AM, 1:30 PM, and 7:30 PM.
Mordden tracks the history of musical theater from John Gay's The Beggar's Opera in 1728, through the operettas by Gilbert & Sullivan and Victor Hugo, as well as hybrid Twentieth Century musicals with more serious themes like Show Boat and Oklahoma! He talks about classic shows like Gypsy and Chicago where the vision of the director/choreographer is dominant, and he explains how the name for "musical comedies" was changed to just "musicals," when the form became more serious. "In the early days," Mordden tells Riedel and Haskins, "you could not open if you didn't have gags, jokes and fun." Nowadays, directors don't like the gag tone ... "They want everything organic and (to come) out of the character."
THEATER TALK is jointly produced by the not-for-profits Theater Talk Productions and CUNY TV. The program is taped in the Himan Brown TV and Radio Studios at The City University of New York (CUNY) TV in Manhattan, and is distributed to 70+ participating public television stations nationwide. THEATER TALK is made possible in part by The New York State Council on the Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The TDF/TAP Plus Program, The CUNY TV Foundation and The Friends of THEATER TALK.
*CUNY TV, the City University of New York television station, is broadcast over-the-air in the New York metropolitan area on digital Ch. 25.3, and cablecast in the five boroughs of New York City on Ch. 75 (Time Warner and Cablevision/Optimum), Ch. 77 (RCN), and Ch. 30 (Verizon FiOS). The show is available online anytime at www.cuny.tv and www.theatertalk.org, and via iTunes podcasts. CUNY TV is also live-streamed on www.Aereo.com.
More On: Michael Riedel, Susan Haskins, John Gay, Victor Hugo,