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Over its life, gave starts to many now well-known actors, including John Travolta (who had begun as Doody in the first national tour), Richard Gere, Treat Williams, Patrick Swayze, Adrienne Barbeau, Barry Bostwick, Jeff Conaway, Greg Evigan, Marilu Henner, and Judy Kaye, among others. In 2003 the British television network Channel 4 held a poll to determine the greatest musicals of all time. won the top honor. In 2007, NBC created a reality show through which to choose the two leads for a new Broadway revival helmed by Kathleen Marshall, though any hopes of authenticity from a new Broadway were slight.
How has capitalism affected our experiences of art and the media
Hartmere also skillfully writes complex conversations set to music, sometimes for an extended scene, sometimes with more than one conversation going on at once, sometimes among just two characters, sometimes among five or six (see "Promise" as an example). It’s the one of most advanced uses yet of the kind of extended musical scene Oscar Hammerstein pioneered back in the 1920s in and in the 1940s in the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. But though those Hammerstein scenes are impressive for their time, there’s a formality and an awkwardness that keeps them from actually feeling real. In , those conversations feel both spontaneous and real. Where Hammerstein had to contort sentences and use odd word choices in order to hold to his structure and rhyme scheme, here Hartmere knows that rules are made to be broken and authenticity is the highest goal now, so he forsakes rhyme when it makes sense to. Composer Stephen Sondheim believes that the amount of rhyme in a song connotes a character’s intelligence and/or presence of mind. The less intelligent or the less rational a character is, the less he rhymes (look at "Getting Married Today in , which has almost no rhyme). In , Hartmere fashions believable spontaneity by not getting chained to the old conventions. When characters are fighting and emotions are running high, Hartmere ignores rhyme. The audience doesn’t notice because they’re too wrapped up in the conversation.
The year is 1959, a pivotal moment in American cultural history, when rock and roll was giving birth to the Sexual Revolution and everything in America culture was about to be turned upside down. Record companies were releasing more than a hundred singles every week and the country was about to explode. , generally considered a trivial little musical about The Fabulous Fifties, is the story of America’s tumultuous crossing over from the 50s to the 60s, throwing over repression and tradition for freedom and adventure (and a generous helping of cultural chaos), a time when the styles and culture of the disengaged and disenfranchised became overpowering symbols of teenage power and autonomy. Originally a rowdy, dangerous, over-sexed, and piece of alternative theatre, was inspired by the rule-busting success of and shows like it, rejecting the trappings of other Broadway musicals for a more authentic, more visceral, more radical theatre experience that revealed great cultural truths about America.