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ccaggiano
Theater Expert at About.com, Professor at the Boston Conservatory of Music, and a life-long, inveterate, theater maven
Interests: Musical theater, choral singing, Monty Python, musical theater, skiing, roller coasters. Did I mention musical theater?
Recent Activity
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William Randolph Hearst The United States was founded in no small part on the freedom of the press. In 1791, the Founding Fathers in the First Amendment to the American Constitution guaranteed protection for the press, declaring it free to exercise its function without hindrance from government or other outside... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at The Cradle Will Rock
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Victor Cousin Sometimes the most seemingly innocuous sayings can nonetheless lie atop significant controversy. Take the phrase "art for art's sake," which simply states that art can have its own intrinsic value, apart from any message or ideas that might lie beneath. In other words, art need not have any... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2018 at The Cradle Will Rock
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Soviet agitprop theater The Cradle Will Rock represents a relatively rare subset of musical theater, shows with overtly political messages. This form of theater is called "agitprop," a portmanteau of "agitation" and "propaganda." Agitprop seeks to change the public's social, political, even moral beliefs through direct persuasion, and consequently spur... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2018 at The Cradle Will Rock
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Leonard Bernstein and Marc Blitzstein Marc Blitzstein met a young Leonard Bernstein when Bernstein conducted the Boston premiere of The Cradle Will Rock in 1939. Blitzstein commented, “He reminded me of myself at his age.” For the rest of his life, Blitzstein continued a close friendship with Bernstein, who was... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2018 at The Cradle Will Rock
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World War I machine gun Somebody once said to the communist revolutionary Lenin that war is terrible. Lenin replied, “Yes, terribly profitable.” World War I was particularly profitable for American business. Before entering the war, America played the role of chief money-lender and supplier of raw and finished goods to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2018 at The Cradle Will Rock
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Living Newspaper production, 'One Third of a Nation' The Federal Theater Project (FTP) was the largest ever government effort to foster and produce theater. Founded in 1935, the FTP was the first effort to promote theater in the United States on the part of the Federal government. It was part... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2018 at The Cradle Will Rock
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The "Little Steel Strike" of 1937 The “Little Steel” Strike was a 1937 labor strike called by the large and powerful union Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), specifically its branch the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC), against a number of smaller steel producing companies, notably Republic Steel. The strike affected... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2018 at The Cradle Will Rock
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Composer/lyricist Marc Blitzstein stands alone, in many respects, as a creator of musical theater. Or, if he doesn’t quite stand alone, he’s not exactly crowded with compatriots. Blitzstein’s unapologetically leftist politics and gay sexuality stood out in an era when both were actively disdained. His refusal to compromise the ambition... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2018 at The Cradle Will Rock
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The "Gold Dust Twins" [In order of appearance in the libretto] SCENE 1 Nix - Expressional of denial, refusal. Here, “That’s all I got.” Sap - Fool, dope, undesirable person Sob stuff - Variation of “sob story,” a scenario meant to evoke sympathy Burg - City, place. Formerly, a fortress... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2018 at The Cradle Will Rock
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Dear Fellow Rockers: What follows here is the director's note that I included in the program when I directed The Cradle Will Rock at the Conservatory a few years back as a staged reading. I'll be going into more depth as dramaturg for our current production, but I thought sharing... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2018 at The Cradle Will Rock
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Regular readers with note that most of my posts lately have been lists of links to my About.com posts. When I took on the About.com gig, I thought that I would be migrating some of my more evergreen posts to... Continue reading
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So, the combination of yet another busy semester at The Boston Conservatory and my contract with About.com to supply them with two posts a week has meant that I haven't had any time to post here on EIKILFM. (The Conservatory... Continue reading
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The fall theater season in New York is is full swing. I'll be publishing a series of reviews over the next few weeks, some of them here on the blog, and some of them over on About.com. Here's my most... Continue reading
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So, the new semester at The Boston Conservatory has officially begun. Now I get to see how well I'm going to be able to keep up with my posts on About.com, my reviews of the new Broadway and Off-Broadway seasons,... Continue reading
Ironically, your disdain proves my point. People don't take Wicked seriously because it's popular. And, dear, it *is* that good.
1 reply
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As I mentioned a while back, I picked up a new gig writing for About.com as the Musical and Theater Expert. I was hoping that the gig wouldn't interfere with my blogging, and so far that has actually been the... Continue reading
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Quick quiz: 1. What musical is the following lyric from? 2. Which character is singing? 3. What is this character singing about? All that matters now Is where we go from here. There's an easier way If we live for... Continue reading
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John Waters writes in one of his books (I think it was Crackpot) that he wishes that someone would discover an unpublished Jean Genet novel. He's read everything extant by Genet, he says, and longs for that special feeling of... Continue reading
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Most jukebox shows rely on the name-recognition factor to lure in the crowds. Well, here's a musical that has sort of the opposite goal: to bring our attention to a name that many of us have never heard of. Piece... Continue reading
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Here's my final roundup of reviews from the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). I saw 19 shows over the course of three weekends. It was a bit grueling at times, but overall I found it exhilarating. There's so... Continue reading
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Here's my third round of reviews, out of four, of shows from the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Seeing so many shows in such a short time has been a really rewarding process, one that I recommend to... Continue reading