"We had fallen hopelessly in love with it," recalled Oscar Hammerstein II of the musical Show Boat, which he wrote with Jerome Kern in 1927. "We couldn't keep our hands off it ... We sang to each other. We had ourselves swooning."
The creators weren't the only ones. Shortly after Show Boat opened in 1927, all of America was humming along to its melodies‹and would do so for generations to come. But the lyrics to those catchy tunes often deal with hefty issues, from racial pride and equality to interracial relationships, a theme at the heart of this sweeping epic.
Rounding out Carnegie Hall's season in style, Show Boat launches on June 10, offering such musical gems as "You Are Love," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "Bill," and "Ol' Man River." The one-night-only concert version of this revolutionary musical features baritone Nathan Gunn (Gaylord Ravenal) and Celena Shafer (Magnolia Hawks), along with the sterling Orchestra of St. Luke's led by Paul Gemignani. Joining them in an all-star cast are Becky Ann Baker (Parthy Ann Hawks), Carolee Carmello (Julie LaVerne), Alteouise deVaughn (Queenie), Jonathan Hadary (Cap'n Andy), Gavin Lee (Frank Schultz), Alvy Powell (Joe), and legendary diva Marilyn Horne (Old Lady on the Levee).
An innovative combination of vaudeville and variety, minstrel show and operetta, Show Boat was heralded as "the most beautifully blended musical show we have seen in this country" by the New York Times the morning after its premiere. A little over 80 years later, Show Boat‹like the mighty Mississippi herself‹just keeps rollin' along.
For more information, visit carnegiehall.org/specialevents.