Landmark Status

Todd Decker

in Show Boat

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199759378
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979554 | DOI:

Series: Broadway Legacies

                      Landmark Status

Show Summary Details


Show Boat entered the American opera house in 1954 and has slowly solidified its position as appropriate for the opera stage during a period when racial stereotypes on the musical stage were undergoing much transformation. This chapter considers three key steps in Show Boat's metamorphosis from Broadway musical to opera: William Hammerstein's 1954 production for the New York City Opera, a widely-seen 1980s version mounted by Houston Grand Opera, and the 1988 EMI-Angel recording of the “complete” Show Boat (including all cut and added numbers) led by John McGlinn. The use of operatic voices in a musical theater work and the enduring resonance of Hammerstein's use of the n- word are discussed.

Keywords: John McGlinn; William Hammerstein; Julius Rudel; Bruce Hubbard; William C. Smith; American opera; New York City Opera; Houston Grand Opera; n-word

Chapter.  6776 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music ; Popular Music

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