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Historic Photos of Broadway: New York Theater 1850-1970 Hardcover – June 18, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1596523623 ISBN-10: 159652362X Edition: First

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Product Details

  • Series: Historic Photos
  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Turner; First edition (June 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159652362X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596523623
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 10.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #998,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Leonard Jacobs should be given a preservation and presentation award for this beautiful and moving book. I was touched by these photos, and the corresponding text of Broadway in a bygone era and glad someone cared enough to bring that spirit back to life. Historic Photos is more, though, than a sentimental journey in a gorgeous coffee table book. And it's more than a history of some of Broadway's first century. It captures the soul of so many people who went before us, many whose performances are no longer even a memory to anyone living. Here they are frozen in time, yet brought forth into a new century in a way that makes them seem not so far removed. This book will be a blessing to all the theatre lovers on your holiday shopping list. I highly recommend it. --Retta Blaney, uponthescaredstage.blogspot.com

There's something unbeatably alluring about great black and white photos. If you don't believe me, take a look at Turner Publishing Company's handsome new illustrated history of the New York Theater from 1850 to 1970. Here's one book you can safely judge by its cover. Make that plural, for both its front and back cover feature images from the Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts. And in between those covers, there's a feast of handsomely reproduced photographs of great theatrical venues (too many of them gone from our the cityscape), along with the plays and musicals seen on their stages, and the thespians bringing them to life. With each season bringing its share of revivals of classic plays, theater buffs will be especially interested in seeing the original cast members of shows such as Waiting for Godot, Man for All Seasons, South Pacific and Pal Joey. And while most readers will have to jump to at least the 1960s for their Oh, yea, I saw that production moments, with this volume they can at least take an armchair journey back to the times they missed. -- Elyse Sommer, A Curtain Up Review



Beginning with a portrait of Junius Brutus Booth and his young son Edwin and ending with a shot of the naked cast from the original production of Hair, this book is filled with rarely seen photos, all drawn from the Billy Rose collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The one of a young and very sexy Arthur Miller suggests that Marilyn Monroe was turned on by more than just his mind and is, all by itself, worth the price of the volume. -- broadwayandme.blogspot

The new book boasts 240 photographs culled by Jacobs — who also penned the text of the hardback — from the Billy Rose Theatre Collection of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Expect images of the Booths, the Barrymores, the Lunts, Ethel Merman, Marlon Brando, Carol Channing and such theatres as the Lyceum, the Winter Garden and the Music Box. Leonard Jacobs was formerly the National Theatre Editor of Back Stage and is currently the first-string critic for the New York Press and author of the blog The Clyde Fitch Report. He is a Tony voter and a member of the Drama Desk and American Theatre Critics Association, chairs the New York Innovative Theatre Awards, adjudicates scripts for the New York International Fringe Festival and the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and teaches at the National Critics Institute at the O’Neill. --Playbill

I’m sure that anyone connected with the theatre will have similar responses to many of the stories and images shown in this amazing, remarkable and hard-to-put-down book. To quote Mr. Jacobs - “It’s ogle-worthy!” --Talk Entertainment, Oscar E. Moore

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Customer Reviews

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See all 9 customer reviews
If you love the theater and or love New York this book is for you.
S. Gorden
Seeing the evolution, the changes in theatrical fashion, and the way tastes in shows evolved helped me understand Broadway in a new way.
Craig Matteson
If you're a theater lover: particularly New York Broadway theater, this gorgeous and brilliantly thought out book is for you!
Mario Ortiz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. Chris Caggiano on July 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is fascinating, representing a comprehensive visual account of some of the most important people, shows, and theaters in Broadway history. One of the book's many charms lies in affording us the chance to stare in wistful wonder at the exteriors and interiors of some wonderful old theaters that no longer exist, such as the gorgeous Casino Theater (torn down to accommodate a growing garment district) and the lovely Morosco (razed to make room for the hideous Marriott Marquis and the characterless Marquis Theater).

What makes the book compelling is that, rather than focusing on the well known stars and shows of recent memory, Jacobs skews his coverage toward older and lesser known people, places, and productions. I was especially pleased to see photos from obscure but significant shows that I cover in my Boston Conservatory course, including:

The Black Crook: (1866) What many historians consider to be the first American musical, actually just the first long-running, home-grown hit. A loosely plotted spectacle peppered with irrelevant songs as well as dances from a homeless troupe of French ballet dancers. The theater that the dancers were supposed to have performed in burned down, and the producer of The Black Crook simply added them to the mix, with no connection whatsoever to the show's Faustian plot.

Babes in Toyland: (1903) The first significant show with a score by one person, rather than a collection of previously existing popular songs. Composer Victor Herbert also made the first significant use of underscoring and connecting music.

Very Good Eddie: (1915) The first of the influential, but now largely forgotten, "Princess" musicals, so named because most of the shows played the Princess Theater (demolished in 1955).
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Format: Hardcover
What a treat this book is! Not only do we get 240 well chosen photos from Broadway from the mid-19th Century through 1970, the text is more extensive than in the other books of historic photos published by Turner. Leonard Jacobs has a keen eye for what is interesting, surprising, informative, and what brings balance between the stars, the shows, the theaters, the writers, composers, and the producers. I found it hard to put the book down. The book also has an index to help you look up the artists and shows you are interested in finding.

The book is organized chronologically into seven chapters: Pre- and Proto-Broadway (1850-1870), The Fin De Siècle Approaches (1870-1910), Tests, Trials, and Transitions (1910-1920), The Roar of the Postwar Greasepaint (1920-1930), Sing Me a Song of Social Studies (1930-1940), A Pax Americana on Your Houses (1940-1950), Golden Era, Post-Broadway, and Beyond (1950-1970).

I found lots of things that were completely new, some fresh looks at things I new a bit about, and some delightful shots that brought back memories from the shows I enjoyed growing up here in the Midwest far away from the Great White Way. Seeing the evolution, the changes in theatrical fashion, and the way tastes in shows evolved helped me understand Broadway in a new way.

Just delightful. Great job!

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mario Ortiz on September 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you're a theater lover: particularly New York Broadway theater, this gorgeous and brilliantly thought out book is for you! Mr.Leonard Jacobs has put together a vastly eclectic collection of old photos that are not the same predictable choices of many past books on Broadway theater. This book takes you on a journey of a Broadway we have rarely or if ever seen, with each photo of an actor or theater telling a story through Mr. Jacobs commentary and far reaching knowledge. It is clear that he LOVES and respects what he does with humbleness and touch of humor. The productions and actors featured are of the more obscure and unknown than the norm. It's what makes this book all the more enjoyable because you don't get that (seen it, been there) feeling.

Buy this glorious book for yourself and a friend. It's sure to become an instant favorite that you'll go back too (as I have) time and time again.

Thank you Leonard Jacobs, for thinking "outside of the box" when putting together this book and giving these otherwise forgotten theater actors and theater houses a new life in the 21 century!

Enjoy!

M. Ortiz (Jersey City, NJ)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Gorden on July 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What another book of theater pictures? Another shot of Carol Channing coming down the stairs at the Harmonia Gardens?

What a treat to find a book about the NY Theater that is NOT the same old tired pictures and dramaturgy.

The exceptional pictures - rarely if ever used before are a true theater lover's delight.

If you love the theater and or love New York this book is for you.

The author lovingly gives details for each of these pictures and it is clearly obvious that Mr. Jacob's knowledge and love of all things theatrical is far reaching.

Don't miss this, it belongs in your collection
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By Seeker of Great Deals on September 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was not disappointed with the photos and information in this book. This was a book that I donated to a library in memory of a friend's Mother who passed away. She loved Broadway shows and would go weekly when she was able. I thought this would be a great book in her memory.
I gave the library rep the choice of 4 different books and she also chose this one! Very happy with the book!
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