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Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand

S1-E1 Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'

S1-E1 Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'

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Review

A teenage George Gershwin was at a wedding when he heard the song They Didn’t Believe Me (“And when I tell them, and I’m certainly going to tell them…”). He was so struck by it, he quit his job and went to work on Broadway instead.

Presenter Neil Brand drops this anecdotal gem into his section on how that song and its writer, Jerome Kern, revolutionised musicals in the early 20th century. Episode one of his wonderful survey is full of great details like this, but don’t worry – it’s full of the music, too.

So as Brand unpicks the songs’ workings with a surgeon’s skill we get tingle-inducing renditions of them. If you enjoy a show tune, this is unmissable.

Summary

The composer and author reveals how the modern shape of the musical was established through a series of pioneering works, examining Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's Show Boat's bold look at America's racial divide in the 1920s. He also explores innovative uses of songs that further the narrative, referencing Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's My Fair Lady, which made a star of Julie Andrews in the late 1950s.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Neil Brand
Director Sebastian Barfield
Executive Producer John Das
Producer Sebastian Barfield

Music Documentary

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