Gower Champion's career spanned the years during which American musical theatre was transformed from a crude popular entertainment into a sophisticated art form. As the director and choreographer of Hello, Dolly!, 42nd Street, and other Broadway musicals, he was central to that transformation. He came of age during the zenith of American musical theatre production and made his mark on both sides of the curtain. As a dancer, he gained notoriety through his work with Jeanne Tyler and Marjorie Belcher, and his experience as a performer gave him a solid foundation for his later success as an organizer of memorable productions. As a choreographer and director, he became known for spectacular numbers that blended dance, staging, and elaborate scenography. More than anyone else, he seemed to realize that the achievement of a musical depended on those spots where music, dance, lighting, costumes, and staging created a sustained narrative and emotional flow through sound and motion rather than words. This book provides the first extensive treatment of Champion's life and legendary career. The book falls neatly into two main sections. The first discusses Champion's career as a performer, with chapters on his early Broadway appearances and his work for MGM Special attention is given to how his experiences as a dancer prepared him for the later half of his career. The second examines his work as a choreographer and director and is organized around the musicals with which he was involved. Each chapter consists of a history of one or more of those productions, from original concept to opening night and sometimes beyond, as Champion, ever the perfectionist, sought to improve on what everyone else thought was already perfect. The volume is fully documented, with basic historical research conducted at several special collections. In addition, the book is based on a careful analysis of Champion's scripts, which include numerous revisions and thus illuminate how he crafted his productions. Finally, the study depends on interviews conducted with various individuals who knew and worked with Champion throughout his impressive career.
Number of pages: 216
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 23 mm
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