"I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"
In the 1920’s and early 1930’s, Irving Berlin —whose wonderful “Count Your Blessings,” we listened to last week at “Sometimes a Song” — was writing music for shows called “revues,” which formed a bridge between Vaudeville and the modern musical. Berlin had already scored two of the annually produced Ziegfeld Follies, before founding his company, The Music Box Theater, a venue through which he marketed his own songs and shows in the only theatrical house in New York designed specifically for the presentation of popular songs. Revues from the 20’s and 30’s sometimes strike the modern audience as too “staged” and too light on plot. Well, that was by design. The purpose of a revue was to offer entertaining music, with just enough story to hold the songs together. Over time, these revues developed into a genre called the “backstage musical,” which featured the high art that we associate with such films as “42nd Street” (1933), “White Christmas” (1942), “Showboat” (1951), “Singing in …
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