Exhibits At Home
While we are unable to welcome you in person to our current gallery exhibit — Of Thee I Sing: Politics on Stage — we can offer virtual snapshots of American music history in our Online Exhibits!
Musical theater in the U.S. has engaged with political topics from its early days. From George and Ira Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical, the intersection between entertainment, politics, and patriotism presents an emotionally powerful combination for theatergoers. Some shows are overtly political, addressing social and cultural issues with a heavy hand and a strong message. Others have taken a lighter, more humorous approach to the peculiarities of America’s history and government. And some have been co-opted or taken on a significance that their authors never intended, due to contemporary events happening far from the lights of Broadway.
In the exhibit, you will find a few questions that we would like YOU to think about. In true democratic fashion, we hope you will offer your opinion and join the conversation.
An Exploration of Political Musicals:
- Of Thee I Sing - George and Ira Gershwin
- Camelot - Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
- 1776 - Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone
- 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner
- Hamilton: An American Musical - Lin-Manuel Miranda
- Also includes: South Pacific, Allegiance, Cabaret, Hair, Dearest Enemy, Bloomer Girl
Political Themes and Topics:
- Freedom of Speech
- Racial Equality
- Women's Rights
- Political Economy
- Political Campaigns
- National Defense & War
- Civil Rights
- and more!
Visit the Politics on Stage exhibit Online
"Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong." - Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Sings the Songbook focuses on a celebrated series of eight albums recorded for Verve Records in the 1950s and '60s, when the respected jazz singer took a new and highly successful direction interpreting works by the most beloved composers of Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood: Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and Johnny Mercer.
Visit Ella Sings the Songbook exhibit Online
The Andrews Sisters. The name conjures indelible images: soldiers listening to a jukebox in the canteen; packed theaters with rabid fans jitterbugging in the aisles; and a brass-voiced trio of lanky women in chiffon dresses and bouffant hairdos.
The story of the Andrews sisters (at right: Maxene, Patty and LaVerne) is certainly one of Depression-era grit and optimism. But it took far more than raw talent and pluck to create one of the most popular singing groups the world has ever seen. Years of hard work rehearsing and touring, changes in how Americans bought and heard music, and a cast of devoted family and friends all helped turn three working-class girls from Minnesota into The Queens of the Jukebox.
Visit the Andrews Sisters exhibit Online
While long remembered as the creator of the hugely successful Broadway musical, "The Music Man," Meredith Willson was also a successful musician, conductor, composer, and beloved radio host prior to his Broadway career. The Unsinkable Meredith Willson exhibit showcases his long career in entertainment that began in Mason City, Iowa using materials from the Meredith Willson collection housed in the Songbook Foundation’s archives.
Visit the Unsinkable Meredith Willson exhibit Online