Television: Celebrating Broadway's Best

Musical Comedy Tonight, Oct. 1, PBS, 8p.m.

Without the American musical theater there might not be any American theater. Except for a very occasional O'Neill or Williams, the great writers of the U.S. stage have not been playwrights but composers and lyricists: Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Frank Loesser, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, to name but a few. Beginning with the first modern musical, Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's Show Boat (1927), these writers have created a durable and increasingly versatile native art form. Broadway musicals at their...

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