Friday, 13 January 2017

Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand

The Broadway musical was invented in London

Written by Ben Felsenburg


‘Tell me, pretty maiden, are there any more at home like you?’ ‘There are a few, kind sir, but simple girls, and proper too.’ With such decorous flirtation was born the age of Ben-Felsenburg-colour-176the musical, for these were the opening lyrics of Tell Me, Pretty Maiden, the smash-hit highlight of the theatre sensation of 1899, a romantic comedy with the catchy title of Florodora.

Packed with scintillating nuggets of history, Sound Of Musicals With Neil Brand (BBC4, Fri, 9pm) is the most delightful portrait of the West End and Broadway show in the century or so since the operetta gave way to a new genre in which the songs punctuated an effervescent story line. And it’s the songs that particularly draw the impassioned evangelism of Brand, who as a composer understands the precision-tooled application of genius in the music that was given to the world by Gershwin, Berlin and Rodgers.

The tale spans both sides of the Atlantic: in the early 20th century, it was in London that the most popular musicals were fashioned before making their way westward to rake in the dollars in New York. But that all changed between the wars, and in the first episode of his three-part series, Brand serves up delicious tasters from the all-American showboat, Oklahoma, Carousel and Annie Get Your Gun. By the 1950s, the Yanks were even exporting Edwardiana back to Drury Lane. But could even the most red-blooded Englishman ever gripe about My Fair Lady?





NOT TO BE MISSED..

tvcomp

TINA & BOBBY ITV, Fri, 9pm
A glossy 1960s drama tells the story of World Cup-winning England captain Bobby Moore (Lorne MacFadyen) and his wife Tina (Michelle Keegan).

CALL THE MIDWIFE: THE CASEBOOK BBC1, Sun, 5.05pm
Stephen McGann, who plays Dr Turner in Call The Midwife, meets the nuns, nurses and doctors of half a century ago.

HORIZON: Clean Eating – The Dirty Truth BBC2, Thurs, 9pm
Trendy diets are put to the scientific test by geneticist and obesity expert Giles Yeo in an eye-opening documentary.


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