tv Lectures in History New York City and Broadway in the 1960s CSPAN April 1, 2018 12:00pm-1:11pm EDT
the free range kids at movement talks about utah becoming the first state to pass a law legalizing free range parenting. john thompson, former director of the u.s. census bureau on the cost of the census and the controversy surrounding it. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal >> lectures in history, a class about new york city and broadway in the 1960's. clinicalribe the culture at the time, the relationship between broadway and off runway productions, and how theaters were bored experimental and responded to current issues such as vietnam. their class is about an hour and 10 minutes.
>> hello. >> welcome to monday. it perfectly typical day in class. >> i have prepared a little introduction to our class called "broadway in the 1960s: war and resistance." over the course of the semester we've been looking at the musical tradition from minstrel shows, antebellum america, post civil war era, looking at --
others with the birth of the integrated musical so we've been asking two primary questions throughout the course. how were musicals shaped by their times, the influx of people and the political conditions, by new technology, and how have musicals dealt with the major historical issues of the day, be it slavery, racism, women's rights, class conflict, the great depression, and up to and including war that's been a constant in the story. as we come into the 1960s, war is of central importance so what i thought i would do is just begin to sketch a timeline of events, of political, theatrical and military that characterize the period. and ask you to think about the role of broadway musicals during this tumultuous decade.
let me begin with january 20, 1961, when john f. if kennedy is sworn in as president. he gives a stirring inaugural address. rising youth culture as the 1960s got under way, and this youth orientation was not restricted to ordinary people but the president, white house and this new argue. >> he's saying the torch has been passed to a new generation of americans, born in this century, tempered by war. disciplined by a hard and bitter peace. proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed to which we are committed to
today at home and around the world. the most memorable applause line came toward the end when kennedy said, i do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. it will enlighten our country and all who serve it. the glow from that fire can truly light the world and so my fellow americans, ask not what your country can do for you. ask what you can do for your country. you can imagine hearing this as
a young person, as a voter, as someone who finally sees someone from their generation or close to it taking the reigns of power. unfortunately he stumbled out of the gate by backing the disastrous bay of pigs invasion in 1961 and getting embroiled in vietnam. here he is at a press conference pointing tout communist threat to laos. in may he sends helicopters and 400 green berets to south vietnam and authorizes secret operations against the viet cong. this is the gear up. where as broadway, later that year, the risque "how to succeed in business without trying"
opens at the 46th street theater on broadway. the show wins seven tony awards and the 1962 pulitzer prize for drama. in 1961, the best musical tony went to "a funny thing happened on the way to the forum." long blacklisted in hollywood and elsewhere, far less successful was "mr. president," which president kennedy and jackie attended at a try-out in washington, d.c. the production made it to broadway but was panned as old fashion despite its topical lighthearted cold war plot. notice, if you will, and it's hard not to, the awesome physical beauty of this couple. the youth movement, jacqueline kennedy, second youngest president elected, and jackie is 33. their spirit is contagious. indeed, kennedy's brief presidency came to be known as "camelot." the nickname had its roots in broadway.
of course, kennedy loved the 1960 musical, the music of which was written by one of his schoolmates at harvard. lerner. but just as "camelot," all was not well in the kennedy administration. in october 1962, the united states and the soviet union stood on the brink of nuclear war when it was discovered that the ussr had installed ballistic missiles in cuba to prevent another invasion like the bay of pigs. the u.s. set up a blockade to prevent the delivery of any more missiles and after 12 days of
tense negotiations, the soviet union agreed to withdraw its missiles if the u.s. would withdraw its missiles in turkey. so disaster was averted. but not for long. so trouble flares again in vietnam, in august of 1964. unsubstantiated reports of an attack on a u.s. vessel in the gulf of tonkin spurred the passage of the resolution which authorizes the president to take all necessary measures including the use of armed forces against any aggressor in the conflict. this is the carte blanche. this is what authorizes the president to gear up this war without formal declaration by congress. so, i'm a little off. a little off. yes. so that's that. what happens is -- i had a little -- there is gulf of tonkin. this is mcnamara talking about the attack, and afterwards these
are the plays, the hits, of the time. and we'll talk more about these. "fiddler on the roof," "funny girl," and "man of la mancha." what happens, after gearing up in vietnam, this is my slide for this, u.s. supports the assassination of dm, ruler of vietnam and his brother and this is november 1963. kennedy himself is assassinated as we know in november 1963, and this is the end of "camelot." his vice president lyndon johnson is sworn in. and he vows to continue the kennedy agenda by domestically with his great society of social
reforms. the war takes over and gets in his way. another sort of rather lighthearted comedy is on broadway. here's love based on the kris movie "miracle on 34th street" about a little girl who doubts the existence of santa claus so in some ways it's unfair, i'm juxtaposing these serious political events with these white, fluffy broadway musicals. one of the questions is how does broadway deal with the war, why should it deal with the war, what is the role of entertainment anyway? but we see the war sort of coming more and more to the attention of broadway producer. johnson is in charge and he starts to gear up and prosecute
the war more diligently. march 1965, he launches a three-year campaign of sustained bombing targets in north vietnam and the ho chi minh trail in operation rolling thunder. the same month u.s. marines land in da nang on the beaches and south vietnam, and so the first combat troops are really deployed in large numbers there. in november, we have an active protest. an active dissent, and that's norman morrison, a 31-year-old
pacifist, this comes home. yes? >> what's his name? >> his name is norman morrison. >> when he set himself on fire? >> he actually did. people said give us the baby and so somebody took the baby and the baby lived. >> but right. >> so it's a bizarre act of protest. a very extreme act of protest. so this is what's happening. meanwhile, on broadway, we have a teenager, liza minnelli making her broadway debut. but the show plummets following
>> a new comedy is on the scene. an experimental piece of prop created by megan terry with input from cast members. now, it's a product of the experimental off-broadway open theater and it was the first rock musical written and performed in the united states, and the first protest play about vietnam. it premiered at the experimental theater club on may 18, 1966,
and a milestone in interactive theater in that the actors are going out to the audience and interacting with them. so the war is coming here in this way. 1967, meanwhile, number of troops reaches 500,000. half a million. a quarter of whom were draftees, who accounted for 30% of the casualties. young people could get deferments if they were enrolled in college so the bubbling of these draftees were from working class families including blacks, hispanics, native americans, and these numbers are going up, and as the numbers go up, the protests increase as well. huge anti-war protests occur in berkeley, san francisco, new york, and washington. washington, d.c. so now, 1968 proves to be critical to this story. the tet offensive begins in january. tet, of course is the vietnamese new year's, and the north vietnamese are on the offensive. so it's a combined assault, vietnam and north vietnamese
armies. attacks are carried out in more than a hundred cities and outposts across south vietnam including saigon and the u.s. embassy is invaded. so this effective bloody attack shocks u.s. officials and marks a real turning point in the war, and the beginning of a gradual u.s. withdrawal from the region. casualties continue to mount, however. record 543 soldiers were killed during one week in february. add to this, 1968, march 16, we have the massacre, in which more than 500 civilians are murdered by u.s. forces, men, women and children. this is not made public until 20 months later when the new york reporter uncovers this story and so this war is just disintegrating into an indefensible action abroad. president johnson halts the bombing in vietnam. north of the 20th parallel. and he's facing a backlash about the war. and he announces that he'll not run for re-election. i remember this talk. it was march 31, 1968. it was my birthday. i was turning 13 years old and he comes on, on the television and he says i shall not seek and i will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as president. i have to prosecute the war, we need peace, i'm reaching out for peace but i can't be bothered with campaigning or anything
like that it was couched in those kinds of service terms. but his whole domestic legacy and agenda was sort of being overshadowed by vietnam. so we have ma lai, lbj dropping out and then we have the assassinations of martin luther king in april of 1968. he had denounced the role talking about the role of the african-americans, the high casualties, followed by robert kennedy in los angeles, night he won the california primary and basically clinched the democratic nomination by running on an anti-war platform. instead, richard nixon is elected president in november. and he said he had a secret plan
to end the war. in fact, he sabotages the paris peace talks, secretly expand the war into lao and cambodia and institutes the first draft lottery since world war ii. prompting even more men to flee to canada. more young men. so these so-called draft dodgers become the subject of a successor to vietrock and this is the play we'll be talking about, "hair," the rock musical. so here the war finally comes in a direct way to broadway. so i just wanted to set the table with this chronology, and then ask you about, we could talk about this afterwards, about broadway's response to
this unpopular war and the social crisis. was it predictable? was it ostrich-like? or not? and especially compared to other art forms, whether it's film or art forms, whether it's film or music. music, i think, we see a major response. the other thing is what should it have been? what should broadway have done? what responsibility, as i said, does it have to respond to these series political matters? and then when we talk about and take them to task, hold them up to some kind of standard, how does the response of broadway in
the 1960s differ or resemble broadway's response to world war i and world war ii? and so those are just some questions i want you to think about as we continue to talk about the 1960s and war resistance, and broadway. >> so i think that what we're going to do, is i'll speak for a little while, and i'll talk a little bit about the broadway experience, but i'm going to not be on broadway for very long. we're moving into other realms, and we'll talk about the way that the war came to broadway, i guess, and then afterwards, we'll have questions. as they arise. >> we started talking a little
bit already, in this class, about the rise of the youth culture, rise of youth culture, and the increasing generation gap, and the new interest in rock 'n roll, and as a result of this, this has basically taken away from an interest in what is considered to be, i guess, kind of like old culture can, older people's culture, right? because all of a sudden there is this distinction between teenagers and their tastes and older people, parents, and their tastes and it gets wider. when we left it the other day,
we were starting to talk about how broadway, its audience was getting older, right? and they were doing -- they were tracking this and noticing, more and more younger people are saying, no, we have no interest in this. i think that that's really very reflective in what vince was showing us, in terms of all of the different, like i love, the war is escalating, here's "hello dolly." wow, things are really tough. here's "mr. president." dolly."
"mr. president," by the way, was not only -- it's like sort of the death of the old guard. i remind you oscar hammerstein dies in 1960. richard rogers is sort of like, this is kind of, he collaborates with some other people but this is really sort of the end of his string of incredible hits. berlin retires after this, and there are a number of different composures that really sort of start to fade away, and that also leaves a little bit of a gap where we have these shows that are serving a middle class audience and an aging audience and some people would arc a complacent audience, so where is
all the anti-war stuff? where is the conversation about the youth culture? where is the rock 'n roll? where is the expression of what's going on right now? and the answer is, off, off broadway. now, in order to talk a little bit about off, off broadway, i want to make sure that you all understand the distinctions between broadway and off-broadway in the first place. so, broadway, we all understand broadway, right? commercial theater center in new york city, arguably of the
entire united states. it's the most intense, right? there are commercial theaters in every city and in every state, but really, concentration is not equalled anywhere else in the united states, and also, size has a lot to do with broadway, so it's generally almost a thousand seats. i think the smallest one is maybe just under a thousand seats, but most of these theaters are enormous, and they are commercial, at least at this equalled anywhere else in the time. some are now nonprofit.
that's changing, but for this time period, commercial theater center, light? that's broadway. and then off-broadway is smaller theaters that are less closely affiliated with one another but they are scattered all over the city. the off-broadway movement is old. it's been around for a long time. if you think about it, broadway gets established at union square before there is an understanding of broadway as we know it now, before it even gets up to times square, but what we have before
that are these commercial centers, starting at the bowery, moving up to union square and landing in the times square area. during those times, there are always these theatrical ventures that are not enormously commercial. that are not gathering thousands of people to come over and watch the show every single night. there are comparatively less commercial entities and for the longest times starting and the early 1900s and going through well until about the 1950s, this was known as the little theater movement. i don't have pretty pictures, i'm sorry, it's just my chicken scratch so they start communicating with each other a little bit. i'm in lower manhattan. i have no interest, i want to do this little obscure little play
that not a thousand people are going to want to come see, would never find a nice home on broadway, what about me and a number of different groups start talking to one another. comparatively less commercial and it's a smaller, a number of smaller theaters and this kind of gathers into a movement and starting in the 1950s this starts gaining steam as a place that is a place. it's a number of different places, a number of different theaters all over the city that start to attract attention, some of them become stronger than others and they start to attract the attention of critics and new audiences that are interested in moving beyond the bright lights of broadway so what we start -- the 1950s, the off-broadway theater. these are houses that are smaller, they are a little bit more in the way of risk taking. does everybody understand that? if you're number one, i'm sure a lot of you have seen this in any kind of entertainment product, you discover this tiny little interesting wonderful band, or a television show that like only two other people in the world watch. right? they have no budget. and then it gets picked up. have you seen this happen? it gets picked up and then all of a sudden, boy, this band they have had some work done. they are suddenly so fancy, i miss the grungy, find of miss this television show when it didn't have a trillion dollar budget and it was fly by the seats. so that starts to happen with off-broadway. it becomes increasingly well known. it becomes increasingly respected. as an alternative to broadway, and for a lot of people, it also then becomes increasingly commercial and it's sort of lost its lure. it's a lure, right? so there has to be a reaction to everything, because that's the way the world works, and so we have the birth, then, of, in the late, i would say late -- 1950s, early 1960s, what becomes known
as off-off-broadway. you would think i would learn how to spell after all these years so the off-off-broadway movement really begins in the late 1950s, and it gathers a great deal of steam and becomes hugely influential for what it is, through the 1960s, especially as the war effort increases and the youth movements increase. the off-off-broadway movement starts kind of unofficially with the establishment of the cafe-cino. and the cafe-cino, you can still go to the original space where it is. i'm not exaggerating, i think it's probably half the size of this room. very long and skinny. there is this beautiful old tin metal roof. it's on cornelia street, i believe now it's a thai restaurant. it's down there and it was established by a guy named joe cino. and he was this young man who decided, he was from buffalo, a child of italian immigrants and he decided he wanted to come to new york city and establish himself as a dancer. a professional dancer, and he really worked very, very hard but there were, first of all, it's incredibly competitive to be professional dancer, or a professional anything in new york. you really have to fight for it. and he did very hard but he also
had pretty significant weight fluctuations. he struggled with his weight frequently, and got tired after a while of starving himself, then go for an audition and he wouldn't make the audition and then he would be bad. eat, put on weight and get depressed, this cycle, and he got tired of it. so he decided, and he was a beloved guy, he had lots and lots of friends, and lots of artists, lots of friends who were artists, so he decided to pool his resources and rent the tiniest little hole in the wall he could find and afford. he put in a coffee maker, a -- cappuccino maker and according to the audience he attracted, he said come, hang out and make art and do whatever it is you need to do. do whatever it is you feel like doing, and he began attracting, and this is, again, this is in greenwich village, the site of the birth in new york city of sort of the counterculture movement, so there is a lot of countercultural activity a lot of artists coming to new york and looking for work. while they are not working or in between jobs they come down to the cafe cino, and they decide to paint on the walls or collectively write a play and put it on in a tiny corner on the table while people sit around and sip coffee and sip cappuccino and maybe bring in a bottle of wine. he starts to encourage an increasing number of artists who become affiliated with the cafe cino. patrick wilson, two wilsons. patrick and langford wilson, there is a lot of wilsons, doric
wilson. many wilsons, and then who else, sam shepherd was the experimental playright. there are a number of people that start coming in and writing these experimental plays. and joe cino died in 1968, so he had been sort of working at establishing this little tiny theater place but what started to happen by the time he died, over the course of the 10 years, since 1958 when he first moves into this little tiny cafe, and the time he dies in 1968, the
idea of creating theater in new york city, in alternative spaces, in ways that are very decidedly not commercial, starts to gain steam. joe cino is not the first person to encourage people to make art. there are theater makers that have come before. there is the living theater, which is actually still, you can google them and find out about the living theater but there was this theater this group was founded in the late 1940s, they had been around. then there is the open theater. all sorts of other, and then megan terry and various of different other experimental theater people that start getting involved.
what vince mentioned, an experimental theater company that still exists on east fourth street. you can go visit. amazing place. and all of these various different theaters and then theater companies -- bread and puppet theater starts cropping up. the poets theater. the living theater, the open theater, all of these are theaters along with the cafe cino that start basically, putting together like a do-it-yourself attitude.
like a diy attitude. we don't have any space. that's okay. there is an abandoned church down the street. let's go make some theater right there. we don't have any materials, let's see if somebody will make a donation and we can hang out on the street and make some theater on the street. brandon -- puppet made bread an then they would do theater in whatever spaces they could occupy and afterwards they would pass around bread. living theater was the theater i mentioned that was found by
julian beck and judith molina. they were married and their interest in the living theater is the one that would create theater for sociocultural change. there was this idea if we could get theater that involved the audience that connected in some way with the audience, and there were many different theories as to how all of these theaters had differed approaches but basically the idea, you, as an observer of theater, can also be a theater practitioner, like a cafe cino, or if you're basically the idea, you, as an interested in making art, come try it. maybe you can perform it.
in front of some random people having coffee. why not? >> what could hurt? right? >> so all of this starts to develop during this time, and what's kind of interest, and i was thinking about this, as vincent is talking about the escalation of the war, is that starting with the cafe cino, and going all the way through the early 1960s, which is when the cafe cino is starting to attract, is that an awful lot of
this is really much more focused, at least the cafe cino was focused on gender, gender politics, and identity politics. joe cino was gay and many of the friends he hung out with were, too, and if they weren't, he made a comfortable space for people to explore so there was a great deal of commentary on sexuality and gender. the off-broadway movement -- the broadway movement, coming over and checking out this theater. the alternative ways of making theater. a lot of these alternative theaters start exploring alternative types of relationships that would have
been new and kind of unique at the time. as one of the playrights, if we wanted people making love in our place we have them nude because who has sex in armor, right? so as opposed to these conventions on television and broadway, people are fully dressed and they are like in separate beds, which was the case on television shows, all of a sudden we have displays of nudity.
we have really, in depth discussion of human sexuality that's going on off-off-broadway. in spaces that, again, could afford to make all kinds of risks and make all kinds of mistakes because what was going to happen? they passed a hat, they were performing on a table in the corner of a tiny little cabaret that was not technically legal. the police would come by, you can't do that sorry, we'll never did it again. but there was not as much in the way of stakes because this is not a multimillion dollar producer putting out millions of dollars to stage a show that they wanted everybody to appeal to. it was tiny little audiences that a couple of people would come and see and that was a success and they went on. as this grew, what is kind of interesting about it is that the movement starts to grow in a number of different directions. there is real reflection of youth culture in all of the theater companies that start to
spring up after the cafe cino. the cafe cino is really interested in kind of a queer theater, very broadway defined. ways of exploring different kinds of sexualities. also different kinds of playrighting. there were ones that followed afterwards. poet's theater was founded in the basement of a church and the church was a very liberal church. it still stands right on the nyu campus. they were performing shows in the church gymnasium, church basement, and the understanding was, the church had this
relationship with the theater company, and the understanding was, you can say whatever you do, whatever you can do, you can be as naked or as clothed or as transgress sieve as you want to be and the church can never censure you or tell you that you have to not perform this, you can do whatever you want so there was this real emphasis on artistic freedom that became increasingly popular downtown and then groups like bread and puppet which were more about like adapting with puppet and communing with audiences, but as
this begins to develop, a variety of different approaches to making theater also start becoming really popular downtown. right? so again, the off-off-broadway theater movement is technically all over manhattan but concentrated in chief available spaces in greenwich village and the east village, which is why it remains where it is today but all of these different theater companies start doing things
that for the first time ever actually trickle up. so generally, what i was talking about, trickle-down economics, the really strong, the wealthy will then influence the right. we've seen this. it's very rare that you see or maybe not so rare, we just don't observe it as much, but when the indy music, when somebody that records something in their basement and uploads it on youtube actually manages to influence an entire established commercial entity, that's kind of a different situation. in depth on wednesday, but i would like to sort of get the ball rolling. i understand we started talking a little bit about "cabaret" and "fiddler," right? you didn't talk about "cabaret" and "fiddler." you started talking about concept musicals, right?
concept musicals, so concept musicals are really marks lot of ways, influences that come from beyond broadway. right? the idea of a concept musical is the idea of experimenting with the form that you have. this is something we'll take up again on wednesday, although i would like for us to have questions and a conversation. what we start seeing with the musicals is the director, the director as the creator, as god, right, very often the director,
not actually doesn't come from off-off-broadway at all, the idea that jerome robbins or, you know, various different directors could be like a choreographer but also, "fiddler" and "cabaret" are particularly interesting to me in light of the vietnam war, the youth movement, various different civil rights movement because it's set in a far away land at different times. fiddler is in russia, "cabaret" is before the fall of the republic and the rise of nazi germany.
my question for you and this is not to talk about now but for next time, my question to you is how does that relate to the 1960s in america? how do those two relate to the 1960s in america because that's what we'll be talking about on wednesday. for now i'm kind of interested in sitting back down here and we can maybe take questions and elaborate on some of stuff that we've talked about. yes? >> okay. [inaudible] >> i know at that time -- >> i don't think so. i think it has more to do with the fact that -- it's super, super important because they have written all of this music and we must have their imprint. the idea of somebody that is
creating, right? jerome robbins becomes increasingly important. i think it's just the dominance of the artist. what it's drivers that. i also think there is also the experimental interest in taking broadway musical and adjusting it to a dark and more experimental time matters a lot, too, but i'm not sure it's directly related some. how about the matter at hand. how about the subject at hand? how about vietnam and off-broadway and off-off-broadway, are there questions about any of the musicals --
>> the relationship between broadway, between broadway and music, and it seems to me that the music industry is more lively, is driving the culture and addressing these political issues in a way that broadway is a little late. in the same way, that broadway plays that i talked about, whether it's "camelot," they are translated to the screen quite rapidly, so their influence is not just, in those broadway goers, but it becomes with albums, with moves. they become a cultural phenomenon. there is a culture share in art forms. >> that happens, absolutely happens with music. we've gone generations with everybody listening to the same
stuff. culture does not consider age difference, certainly never was considered for the music -- for popular music, no one really ever got -- oh, yeah, we've got to appeal to the 16 -- 16-21 demographic. that's so modern if you think about it but it was not the case back then. at least before the 1960s, and before the dominance of the youth culture, there was really no distinction between what was marketed to older people and what was marketed to younger people, starting in the 1960s, we start seeing, i mean, i have this flash in my mind of like "2001, a space odyssey," which is, in a lot of ways for its time, a rather experimental strange non-narrative film. like your average movie would not have, right? same with music. younger people are starting to be aggressively marketed to when it comes to rock 'n roll, right? it's not only taken on as an -- adopted as young people's music but in turn it's sold back to
young people as revolutionary music, as music of the generation, right? that happened simultaneously, and this is really kind of a similarity. where, a lot of off-off-broadway, they are listening to rock 'n roll. they are kind of debating whether or not they burn their draft card or join the draft or whether they go to canada. you know, there is a lot of pressures that are going on among younger people that are just not hitting broadway because broadway is appealing to middle class, fairly middle of the road people at the time. right? so broadway ends up being the
entity that has to adjust. like the film industry has to adjust, like the music industry has to adjust. but it's usually the most commercial entity that's the one that sort of is caught unaware. there is other stuff going don downtown. we don't care about that we're making really big expensive theater. well, yeah, okay, that's not helping you right now. >> there is the correlation between age and the complacency of broadway, are they directly correlating? >> i might say yes, i mean, my reaction would be that, yeah, who is -- who is being sent to war? is it the middle age businessman
and the house wife at home buying tickets or the kids downtown concerned about the war, like there is, i think there is kind of an important distinction between young, old, and then sort of innovative versus complacent that starts to happen at this time. >> i was going to ask about that it seemed like there were so many flops in the early 1960s, a good number of flops that, how do they balance the idea of like, how far could they have gone in terms innovation and not lose their appeal? >> so i think there is something like 80%, there is a ridiculous amount of number, i can never remember, and, yeah, like something like 20% of broadway shows would make their money back, and -- no one, no one quote me on that because, i
don't have notes, but it is a vast majority of shows, that do not do well on broadway. >> that's a monumental success, historic proportions, so the gamble is you're going to lose, but boy, if you win, like you really win, it's a constant pressure. >> you want, it's not as if you want to put up flops. >> i don't know how many of you have ever heard of a lot of these, raise your hand if you have heard of any of these, the diehard theater students in the want to put up flops. >> i don't know how many of you classroom are super into this and you heard some of these, but these are not household names, right? you might have heard of hammerstein, whether you know broadway even before you registered for this class, but volume matters but you also -- you've got to -- you've got to balance almost with the art on broadway. i think in ways, it's a very careful cocktail, you need to be
able to justify charging, a hundred dollars a ticket, back then it was less. but it's pricey. first going in and buying a cup of coffee, that's a lot cheaper and if you're not sufficiently entertained, who cares? you bought a nice cup of coffee and you sat and watched something interesting and you left. versus i spent all my money, i'm so mad, i'm going to tell my friends not to -- go see this. just like, i mean, commercial film, you know, you can't watch something and have it be -- they tried after "hair," they tried to bring in a lot more. >> can i answer? based on reading your book and others, to matt questions, it's not so much the flops, it's not because they were too experimental, flops were because
they were old fashion, corny and they were yesterday, and so i think that's also driving change in the mainstream. >> yeah. >> so i guess -- kind of why broadway takes so long to get on to that -- to have the kind of appeal, the industry moved super fast between the 1950s into like the late 1960s, between rock 'n
roll rising throughout the entire country. so why did broadway take so long to, you know, after all the hello dollies and the camelots, why did it take so long for hair to get there? >> would it be like a religious thing because it's so easy to go into a studio and record, as opposed to getting a cast, getting a writing team, getting composures to create all of these things? >> there is that. >> there is certainly that, okay, there is the percolating broadway shows, they take a very long time. but the other thing is, i want to pint out, there was a string of flops, but all the ones you mentioned were absolutely enormous. hello dolly was one of the longest running shows of its time. it was an absolutely -- so no one lose sight of the fact that, just because broadway was slowly starting to lose its younger audience, doesn't mean that it necessarily felt like it absolutely had to scramble to change, right? and it tried over the course of the 1960s to attract young people, right? >> i think we mentioned rock 'n roll. actually, mr. president had a rock 'n roll song in it. the entire state department or something burst into the twist, the twist, of course, in 1950s, a trend, 1962, so they were a little behind the times. i think a lot of the reaction was sort of like, guys, you don't get rock 'n roll.
you don't get the new stuff, stick to what you're doing well. stick to what you're doing well. hello dolly is doing fine. wait a minute. we might appeal. hair was an accident. again, hair was almost accidental. i want to leave that for those of you who will be leading glass on hair but those who are leading class, scribble down, it was an accident. >> the other thing, once hair did broke through it didn't open the flood gates. that was the beginning of many, many rock musicals. >> no. everyone that came after it was terrible. it was horrible and then they were like, okay, this was clearly just a fluke. gabriel, did you have a question? >> just, going off of the next question. moved more slowly, that could have been because of the audience and who they are trying to appeal to. they are trying to become more progressive. it is worth mentioning, every
time they do try to bring rock 'n roll on stage, or the movement of the rock on stage. they tried to do it in a way that appeal to grown-ups. the first rock 'n roll, with the exception of bye-bye birdie which was cute and fluffy, it made fun of grown-ups and kids. the grown-upf hatred for rock 'n roll. it was an equal opportunity making fun of everyone everyone was in on the joke. irving berlin was trying to bring a twist to this stage 10 years after the twist was popular. what is that going to do? songsof times there were run into broadway musicals -- here is some rock 'n roll, isn't this rock 'n roll stupid and boring, repetitive and loud?
isn't that hilarious? that is not going to attract people of the time period. that is i going to win any favor for people who want to see rock 'n roll. i have just been insulted. it doesn't work that way. it took a while. broadway, did they notice off of broadway of people being pushed away from off off , they said that is something and that it was left alone. >> there was no money and off off broadway. there was a lot of people who were working off off broadway and then every time there was an audition for off-broadway or broadway they would go. , they said a job sorry i cannot do the show.
everybody was interested in paying rent. broadway was a tense relationship, it was a beneficial relationship, there was a connected relationship. everybody who was working off-broadway. a love the off off-broadway denizens -- sam shepard ended up getting his stuff produced. the one all caps of awards. nobody would say no. the group that refused funding, the group that was offered some government funding. down with the picks, you suck. i am not taking your funding. they don't exist anymore. there was dinner genesis who refused their nhs grant. have you ever heard of them? there is a mutually beneficial relationship. saidis is something you
and i will sue the other think. 1960's it was the first time the french was influenced the mainstream grade i was wondering if that is substantiated by what we are shows, war,minstrel with the role of immigrant irish, i think there may be a pattern with these people from the margins, they are continually revitalizing and changing the product. wondering if the 1960's was more continuity in that sense. >> that is an excellent point. dances don't come from
cotillion, they come from the streets on upg. fact that broadway is receptive to these generation of ideas, that is what keeps a dynamic. >> look at hamilton. how long has been hip-hop been in existence before broadway finally gets its first recognition of hip-hop in it, it has only taken 20 something years. more. i definitely think when it comes to casting and storytelling, the 1960's were definitely more about what we believe. --ecially with stuff like i'm trying to find the list -- i
think a funny thing happened was definitely -- i am trying to that as always see something that came from theater, it came from outside of theater. >> the influence of television or film? there was a lot of film. i think we are out of time. of this isd, none happening in a vacuum. the questions about off off-broadway, broadway show. you aree possible seeing people in the off-broadway cast who are doing broadway. i saw an experimental theater company downtown which is off off-broadway which has involvement of people established in film.
they want to have a small experimental piece. it is a want of the same with music television. people are ready for television and they will stop and do theater. that is are much the case back then as well. there are a number of different people who are dabbling, even sometime did a -- so onheim did a television show. >> we are going to continue to talk about the 1960's. alwaysnder if it is broadway being influenced by lesser-known players, are there any cases appropriation? music, if acases of producer does something interesting, they will take it and smalltime producers don't really have that money. >> that happens, generally speaking it is unlawful property.
that he was this famous experiment to director which is one of the very famous off off-broadway companies. he did extremely well for himself and the off off realm, he got invited to direct place on broadway. it was not like we are going to go downtown and watch a comedy, we are going to rip it off. they were wondering if you could do what you are doing there in off off-broadway. after it while he was not able to create on broadway what he was doing off off-broadway. don't make money on broadway, there is no one inviting you to broadway. we have seen examples of that. we have seen the charleston, we have seen examples of blessedlyericans -- there is more at the way of rights and protections now.
there is still complaining about people stealing ideas, it still happens. i think it is a little harder. i think it is a little bit more of a tension with off off way that resulted in the book it in run-up to broadway. >> anyone else? thank you very much. we will see you wednesday. >> if you are interested in the movie, the fiddler on the roof movie, it is very long. that ande looking at cap array. .- cabaret those are both considered concept musicals, we will talk about those. howother thing we will do, do these musicals -- both of which are set 50 years or 100 years prior and how do they
reflect 1960's america. you will also get your papers back. thank you. >> day, april 8, we continue our series, 1968 america in turmoil. a look at liberal politics. and emboldenociety liberal activist redefining the role of the federal government in challenging traditional values. the assassination of martin luther king and robert f kennedy, they dealt shattering blows. next sunday, live at 8:30 a.m. eastern. >> in late december of 1944, the soviet red army and the romanian army encircled budapest, the capital of hungary trapping 8000
soldiers and about 800,000 civilians in the city. the siege continued until the second week of february 1945 when the remaining defender surrendered. tv, on american history military historian sean kalic talks about the siege of budapest and argues it is an overshadowed battle because it happened at the end of world war ii. the kansas city public library hosted this hour-long event. evening, ladies and gentlemen. i am the director of the kansas city public library. we are grateful to have you here tonight to talk about budapest at the end of world war ii. warsaw,ad, leningrad, all students of world war ii and the evils of