THEATER: OLD SHOWS, NEW SPIRIT

IF BROADWAY MUST STAY ALIVE ON REVIVALS, LET THEM BE AS CANNY AS 1776, AS VIVACIOUS AS ON THE TOWN

When On the Town opened in 1944, New York, New York really was a helluva town. And Broadway was one fabulous art form. Oklahoma!, cornpone revolutionizer of the musical, was playing nearby, and Carousel was about to open. Kurt Weill, Sigmund Romberg, Cole Porter and Harold Arlen all had new shows. As for the new kids, two of On the Town's creators were 31: Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the co-stars who wrote the show. Two were 26: composer Leonard Bernstein and choreographer Jerome Robbins.

What does Broadway offer today? As many revivals as new shows, if you exclude from "new"...

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