The history of the theater is a long and illustrious one. We’re not going to bore you with the historical time line of what show came out when and who stared in it. You can get that info just about anywhere. What we’d like to do in this review of one of the most wonderful forms of entertainment is a touch on some of the greatest moments and how they have forever changed how we look at the world of entertainment itself. The theater has had a great impact on our lives and the many things we do in our lives. Let’s face it; there is just nothing like seeing performers right up there on stage, live, right before your eyes. If you think that’s an overstatement, then you’ve obviously never been to the theater.
You can go all the way back to the mid-1950s when a young girl by the name of Julie Andrews made her debut in the London production of “My Fair Lady,” a play based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. Her electrifying performance as Eliza Doolittle, the poor Cockney gal who couldn’t speak proper English if her life depended on it, made her a household name overnight and began a career that would span over 40 years until she sadly lost her voice due to serious throat problems.
Looking for something a little more recent? How about the very first legitimate musical of the 1960s to feature nudity? We are of course talking about the 1969 production of “Hair.” This was a play that changed pop music altogether. Never in the history of Broadway has one play had as many hit pop records as “Hair.” This play featured such great hits as “Hair,” “Easy To Be Hard,” “Good Morning Starshine” and the number 1 song of 1969, “Aquarius.” Because of the great music in this play, careers for “Three Dog Night”, “The 5th Dimension”, “The Cowsills” and “Oliver” were launched into orbit. Talk about an impact on the music world.
Then, of course, there was the amazing rock opera of the Who, “Tommy.” This play was an epic of a musical masterpiece itself and not only put the Who firmly on the map as future rock and roll hall of fame, but also set the stage for some recording stars to capitalize on the success of “Tommy” itself. As great as the Who’s version of “Pinball Wizard” was, who could ever forget the late 70s remake by Elton John? Tommy will always be one of the greatest moments in theater history ever.
But if you want a single defining moment in theater history that chilled an entire world and put a single man on the map as a living legend, one need go no farther than Michael Crawford’s haunting rendition of “Music Of The Night” from “Phantom Of The Opera.” This is said to be one of the greatest musical performances of all time. And rightly so. To this day it has been said that nobody played this part like Crawford.
These few examples only scratch the surface of a form of entertainment that has captivated and mesmerized us for many years and will no doubt continue to do so for many more years to come.
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