From the Bowery to Broadway

From the Bowery to Broadway : Lew Fields and the Roots of American Popular Theatre

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Before Ziegfeld launched his Follies, before the Shubert brothers built their empire, Lew Fields' productions were the toast of Broadway. For the "smart set" in the luxury box seats and the shopkeepers and clerks in the gallery, an evening at Weber & Fields' Music Hall was the hottest ticket in town, a chance to see the biggest stars of the era - Lillian Russell, Fay Templeton, David Warfield, DeWolf Hopper, and the "Dutch" knockabout comedy team of Weber & Fields. From the Bowery to Broadway offers a panoramic view of the early history of the American popular theater through the career of a consummate showman. In the half-century between his stage debut - a bumbling youngster in a Bowery amateur show - and his farewell appearance on the opening night bill at Radio City Music Hall, Lew Fields was involved in almost every form of popular entertainment, from the dime museum, circus, the minstrel show and vaudeville, to revues, "book musicals, " and operettas, as well as recordings, silent films, radio, and talkies. Here are the triumphs and disasters of a singular life in show biz. Born Moses Schoenfeld, Lew Fields crossed the Atlantic in steerage at age five and grew up in the mean streets of the Bowery in the 1870s and 1880s. At the age of ten, to escape his father's sweatshop, he began performing on stage with his school chum Joe Weber. As teenagers, they trouped through variety circuits all over the country; before they reached thirty, they had their own Broadway theater and all-star stock company. Going solo, Fields blossomed into an innovative producer who helped raise the Broadway musical to the pinnacle of show biz (his scores of credits include five of the early Rodgers and Hartshows). Fields' influence was extraordinary: his raucous "Mike and Meyer" knockabout comedy routines with Weber were the prototypes for generations of acts to follow, and the legacy of the satirical revues performed nightly at the Music Hall lives on in the irreverent topical humo
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Product details

  • Hardback | 569 pages
  • 185.42 x 254 x 45.72mm | 1,292.73g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 32 pp halftones, bibliography
  • 0195053818
  • 9780195053814

About Armond Fields

About the Authors: Armond Fields, author of two previous biographies, is the great-nephew of Lew Fields, and the father of his co-author. L. Marc Fields is a screenwriter and a teacher in the Graduate Film Program at New York University.
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