Bathtubs Over Broadway, the quirky documentary film by director Dava Whisenant that uncovers the little-known world of industrial musicals from the 1950s through the 1970s, was awarded the Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award at the Tribeca Film Festival this week.
Whisenant makes her directorial debut with the film that reveals never-before-seen (or heard) musicals with such titles as The Bathrooms are Coming! and Diesel Dazzle.
The film follows music collector Steve Young, a veteran writer of The Late Show with David Letterman, on his quest to find recordings and rare film footage of a genre of fully produced Broadway-style musicals written for such brands as General Electric, McDonald’s, Ford, DuPont, Xerox, Whirlpool, and more.
Numerous Broadway writers and performers were involved in the lucrative, big-budget musicals, including Sheldon Harnick, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Chita Rivera, Susan Stroman, the late Florence Henderson, and Martin Short—many of whom are featured in the film.
“The winner of the Best New Documentary Director goes to a film that we chose for many reasons. The story, the specific subject, the journey into a world we never knew existed. This film also has an element every great film, doc, and story needs...heart. It’s an honor to give the award to Bathtubs over Broadway!,” the Tribeca Film Fest jury said in a statement announcing the selection.