Ethan Mordden to Chat New Book WHEN BROADWAY WENT TO HOLLYWOOD on THEATER TALK
Theater historian and writer Ethan Mordden is back on an all-new THEATER TALK to discuss his newest book, When Broadway Went to Hollywood - a history of Hollywood's relationship with the Broadway musical once the movies began to have sound (Oxford University Press).
Mordden shares fascinating anecdotes with series co-hosts producer Susan Haskins and Michael Riedel of the New York Post about the uneasy alliance the movies had with Broadway songwriters like Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter and others. While movies brought songs and shows to a national audience, and the money paid to Broadway talent was always greater (sometimes spectacularly so) compared to fees and royalties from New York shows, studio heads had contempt for the New York talent and curtailed their ability to innovate. Eventually, most songwriters returned to the New York stage and its more creative environment.
In the end, says Mordden, Hollywood wanted to make movies - thinking that if songs needed to be cut, the plots would hold up without them. That said, Mordden explains why he considers The Jazz Singer, The Broadway Melody (1929), Love Me Tonight, and Gigi as the most innovative works in the history of screen musicals, films that could not have succeeded without the music that held them together.
The Ethan Mordden - When Broadway Went to Hollywood edition of THEATER TALK can be seen in the NYC metropolitan area on PBS station Thirteen/WNET on Friday, July 14 (2017) at 1:30 AM (early Saturday morning) and Sunday 7/16 at 11:30 AM; on CUNY TV Saturday 7/15 at 8:30 PM, Sunday 7/16 at 12:30 PM, and Monday 7/17 at 7:30 AM, 1:30 PM, and 7:30 PM; on WLIW/21 Monday 7/17 at 5:30 PM; and on NYCLife Thursday 7/20 at 11 PM.
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 100+ participating public television stations nationwide. THEATER TALK is made possible in part by The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The CUNY TV Foundation, and The Friends of Theater Talk.
*CUNY TV, the City University of New York television station, is broadcast in the NYC metropolitan area on digital Ch. 25.3 and cablecast in the city's five boroughs on Ch. 75 (Spectrum & Optimum Brooklyn), Ch. 77 (RCN), and Ch. 30 (Verizon FiOS). THEATER TALK episodes are available online anytime at www.cuny.tv and www.theatertalk.org and via podcast on iTunes.
Pictured: Writer Ethan Mordden (Image courtesy Theater Talk Prods./CUNY TV); "When Broadway Went to Hollywood" book jacket (Oxford University Press, publisher).