July 7, 1:00 pm:
The Creation of My Fair Lady with Charles Troy
We'll celebrate this universally beloved show, often called the greatest musical of all time, by following its long journey from its beginnings as Shaw's 1912 play "Pygmalion" and then as a popular 1938 film. Then we'll learn how Lerner and Loewe managed to fashion this difficult material – an intellectual drawing room comedy – into such a stunning musical theatre triumph. See lecturer bio below.
July 21, 7:30 pm:
The Top Ten Longest Running Shows in Broadway History with with Theater Critic, Hap Erstein
One measure of a show’s success is how long it runs on Broadway. Oklahoma!, which ran more than five years (2,212 performances), led the list in the 1940s. Now it ranks a mere 32nd. Today the top thirty shows are all musicals, and include popular titles such as The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and The Lion King. Do any of those crack the top ten? This hour-long discussion that examines the ten longest running shows Broadway has ever seen. See lecturer bio below.
July 28, 1:00pm:
From Mickey Mouse to Star Wars and Beyond: How the Walt Disney Company Conquered the Entertainment Universe with Brian Rose
Over the last nine decades, the Walt Disney Company has transformed every facet of the entertainment business—from the creation of feature length cartoons to television programming, from theme parks that span the globe to Broadway musicals, from challenging Netflix with their new streaming service Disney+, to ownership of the greatest collection of franchise movies under the control of a single studio in Hollywood history. This presentation examine this remarkable story of how the Walt Disney Company grew from a small cartoon studio in 1923 to become the most powerful force in worldwide entertainment. See lecturer bio below.
August 11, 7:30 pm:
The Jewish Composers of Broadway with Theater Critic, Hap Erstein
As they sing with tongue-in-cheek in Monty Python’s Spamalot, “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway (If You Don’t Have Any Jews).” It is in fact true that the vast majority of the musical theater’s composers have been Jewish. From Irving Berlin to George Gershwin to Richard Rodgers to Stephen Sondheim, they have shaped this uniquely American art form, yet rarely until recent years have they written about the Jewish experience. This hour-long talk is a survey of the evolution of the Broadway musical, with a celebration of the creative individuals who made it happen. See lecturer bio below.
August 11, 1:00 pm:
The Creation of Camelot with Charles Troy
This star-crossed show, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s last great musical, almost killed two great talents — Lerner and director Moss Hart were both hospitalized during its pressure-packed tryout period, which rendered “Camelot” not completely ready for its Broadway opening night. It took two events, one unlikely and the other tragic, to make “Camelot” into a hit — and then into the legend it became. See lecturer bio below.
August 25, 1:00 pm:
From Mary Pickford to Meryl Streep: Hollywood’s Star System and How It Works with Brian Rose
For more than a century, Hollywood has relied on star power as the most reliable way to draw an audience. From the early days of silent movies, when Mary Pickford was able to command $10,000 a week to modern times, when actors like Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks are guaranteed $20 million (or more) a picture, the film studios have recognized the crucial role stars played at the box office. This presentation will look at the history of movie stardom—how originally film actors weren’t even identified by name, how Mary Pickford became “America’s Sweetheart” and the first real film star, how the Hollywood studios manufactured stars like Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, and Lana Turner during its Golden Age, how the star system changed once television came on the scene, and how actors like Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, and Denzel Washington ushered in a new definition of stardom during the last few decades. See lecturer bio below.
Tuesday, September 14, 7:30 pm:
The Hamilton Phenomenon with Theatre Critic Hap Erstein
Hamilton has been a hot ticket since it debuted in 2015. But what possessed composer-lyricist-playwright-original star Lin-Manuel Miranda to write a musical about the first Secretary of the Treasury and his Founding Father contemporaries, and set their history to a hip-hop beat? For those lucky enough – or wealthy enough – to snag seats to the show, this hour-long talk will deconstruct the musical to increase your enjoyment and appreciation of the highly acclaimed – and highly profitable – Broadway sensation. See lecturer bio below.
Thursday, September 23 7:00 pm:
The Tony Awards with Theatre Critic Hap Erstein
With the Tony Awards scheduled to air September 26, 2021, this hour-long presentation by Theatre Critic Hap Erstein reviews the history of the Tonys and profiles this year’s top contenders. He also provides historical context: Since 1947, the mark of excellence on Broadway has been the Antoinette Perry (aka Tony) Awards, and ever since they were televised in the early 1960s, the annual broadcast became the prime marketing tool of the commercial theater to the nation. More so than the Oscars, a Tony Award win can mean the difference between success and failure at the box office. If you like plays and musicals, you’ll love this presentation! See lecturer bio below.