Chapter

Fascinating Rhythms

Kathleen Riley

in The Astaires

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199738410
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932955 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738410.003.0005
Fascinating Rhythms

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The London debut of Stop Flirting saw the start of London’s love affair with the Astaires, now fully mature performers and the leading exponents of the American musical. The chapter explores the impact of the Astaires, not just on theatre audiences but also on London society. Their friendship with the young royals, notably the Prince of Wales and Prince George, and their socializing with important literary figures and eminent persons from the theatre, are recounted. The significance of the Astaires’ contribution to musical theatre is given historical perspective by reference to major artistic, political, social, and cultural events which occurred about the time when they were performing. A comparison is made between the Astaires and Noël Coward. It is argued that the young Astaires brought to an England, still recovering from the effects of the devastating Great War, an exuberance and freshness which exhilarated, and endeared them to, their audiences. During the London run of Stop Flirting the Astaires’ father died but it was eighteen months before they could return to New York and prepare for their next triumph, Lady, Be Good! by George and Ira Gershwin.

Keywords: astaire; fred; adele; stop Flirting; london; prince of Wales; great War; noël Coward

Chapter.  8583 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Dance

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