The USA turns 240 years old this weekend, and Tams-Witmark is celebrating Independence Day the only way we know how… with Broadway Musicals!
Here are 7 Patriotic Moments from Great Broadway Musicals.
1. Joel Grey in GEORGE M!
This 1970 musical, which also featured a young Bernadette Peters, celebrated the life of the Yankee Doodle Boy himself, George M. Cohan. Claiming he was “Born on the 4th of July,” Cohan penned some classic American anthems, like “You’re A Grand Ol’ Flag” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
2. “The Motherhood March” from HELLO DOLLY!
This hilarious Sousa-inspired tune from Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart’s blockbuster hit was actually penned (primarily) by Bob Merrill. Dolly attempts to hide young Barnaby and Cornelius from their curmudgeonly boss, Horace Vendergelder, by distracting and confusing him with a flurry of patriotic mumbo jumbo:
I stand for Motherhood, America,
And a hot lunch for orphans!
Take off your hat, sir,
While your country’s flag is passing.
Do you see him on the hill at Gettysburg
‘Neath that great triumphal arch?
If you see him as he’s trampling through the grapes of wrath,
Stand up and march, march, march!
3. Dainty June in GYPSY
In her vaudeville act, Mama Rose’s little star attempts to dazzle the crowd with stars, stripes, banners, and batons. “Dainty June and Her Farmboys” actually ends with the orchestra playing “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
George M. Cohan’s first full-length musical introduced “Yankee Doodle Boy” to Broadway audiences. Donny Osmond starred in an ill-fated 1982 revival that lasted one performance. But David Cassidy headlined this successful national tour of LITTLE JOHNNY JONES in 1981:
5. “Don’t Put It Down” from HAIR
Though controversial, HAIR explored the question of what it means to be an American, and by challenging the status quo, was arguably one of the most patriotic shows of its era. Berger, Woof, and a friend sing:
My heart beats true
For the red white and blue.
Crazy for the blue white and red,
Crazy for the blue white and red
(And yellow fringe).
Crazy for the blue white red and yellow!
6. The “Star Spangled Banner” from ON THE TOWN
That’s right— ON THE TOWN features a glorious score from Leonard Bernstein and Comden & Green, but the overture is not Bernstein’s; it’s the National Anthem! For the 2014 Broadway revival, the tale of three sailors on leave in NYC opened with an enormous American flag.
7. “Our Favorite Son” from THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES
Keith Carradine starred in this 1991 hit, which won 6 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Director. The life of humorist Will Rogers was presented Ziegfeld-style, complete with showgirls, glitzy costumes, and brassy big band arrangements. In “Our Favorite Son,” with music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Comden & Green, and choreography by director Tommy Tune, Rogers celebrates a life in politics, while stars & stripes abound.
Happy Independence Day, everyone! Have safe and joyful Fourth!