You are currently browsing the daily archive for Saturday, July 12, 2008.

Today is an anniversary for two of my heroes… one died, and one was born….

JOSHUA LOGAN – (October 5, 1908July 12, 1988) was an American stage and film director and writer.

Broadway

Logan began his Broadway career as an actor in Carry Nation in 1932. He then spent time in London, where he “stag[ed] two productions … and direct[ed] a touring revival of Camille“. He also worked as an assistant stage manager. After a short time in Hollywood, Logan directed On Borrowed Time on Broadway. The play ran for a year, but his first major success came in 1938, when he directed I Married an Angel. Over the next few years he directed Knickerbocker Holiday, Morning’s at Seven, Charlie’s Aunt, and By Jupiter.

In 1942 Logan was drafted by the US Army. During his service in World War II, he acted as a public-relations and intelligence officer. When the war concluded he was discharged as a captain, and returned to Broadway. He married his second wife, actress Nedda Harrigan, in 1945; Logan’s previous marriage, to actress Barbara O’Neil, a colleague of his at the University Players in the 1930s, had ended in divorce.

After the war, Logan directed the Broadway productions Annie Get Your Gun, John Loves Mary, Mister Roberts, South Pacific, and Fanny. He shared the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama with Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for co-writing South Pacific. The show also earned him a Tony Award for Best Director. Despite his contributions to the musical, in their review the New York Times originally omitted his name as co-author, and the Pulitzer Prize committee initially awarded the prize to only Rodgers and Hammerstein. Although the mistakes were corrected, in his autobiography Logan wrote “I knew then why people fight so hard to have their names in proper type. It’s not just ego or ‘the principle of the thing,’ it’s possibly another job or a better salary. It’s reassurance. My name had been so minimized that I lived through years of having people praise ‘South Pacific’ in my presence without knowing I had had anything to do with.”

Logan cowrote, coproduced, and directed the 1952 musical Wish You Were Here. After the show was not initially successful, Logan quickly wrote 54 new pages of material, and by the ninth performance the show looked new. In its fourth week of release, the show sold out, and continued to offer sell-out performance for the next two years.

Hollywood

When director John Ford became sick, Logan reluctantly returned to Hollywood to complete the filming of Mister Roberts (1955). Logan’s other hit films included Picnic (1955), Bus Stop (1956), Sayonara (1957), and South Pacific (1958). He was nominated for an Academy Award for Directing for Picnic and Sayonara.

His later Broadway musicals All-American (1962) and Mr. President (1962) and the films of Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot (1967), and Paint Your Wagon (1969) were less acclaimed. Logan’s 1976 autobiography Josh: My Up-and-Down, In-and-Out Life talks frankly about his bipolar disorder. He appeared with his wife in the 1977 nightclub revue Musical Moments, featuring Logan’s most popular Broadway numbers. He published Movie Stars, Real People, and Me in 1978. From 1983-1986, he taught theater at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. He was also responsible for bringing Carol Channing to Broadway in Lend an Ear!.

Logan died in 1988 in New York of supranuclear palsy.

OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II – (July 12, 1895August 23, 1960) was an American writer, producer, and (usually uncredited) director of musicals for almost forty years. He was twice awarded an Oscar for “Best Original Song“, and much of his work has been admitted into the unofficial Great American Songbook.

Rodgers and Hammerstein

Hammerstein’s most successful and sustained collaboration, however, came in 1943 when he teamed up with Richard Rodgers to write a musical adaptation of the play Green Grow the Lilacs. Rodgers’ first partner, Lorenz Hart, was originally going to join in the collaboration but was too deeply entrenched in alcoholism to be of any use. The result of the new Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration was Oklahoma!, a show which revolutionized the American musical theatre by tightly integrating all the aspects of musical theater, with the songs and dances arising out of the plot and characters. It also began a partnership which would produce such classic Broadway musicals as Carousel, Allegro, South Pacific, The King and I, Me & Juliet, Pipe Dream, Flower Drum Song, and The Sound of Music as well as the musical film State Fair (and its stage adaptation of the same name) and the television musical Cinderella, all of which were featured in the revue A Grand Night for Singing. Hammerstein also produced the book and lyrics for Carmen Jones, an adaptation of Georges Bizet‘s opera Carmen with an all-black cast.

Oscar Hammerstein II is today considered one of the most important figures in the history of American musical theater. He was probably the best “book writer” in Broadway history – he made the story, not the songs or the stars, central to the musical, and brought it to full maturity as an art form. His reputation for being “sentimental”, is based largely on the movie versions of the musicals, especially The Sound of Music, in which a song sung by those in favor of pacification with the Nazis, No Way to Stop It, was cut. As recent revivals of Show Boat, Oklahoma!, Carousel, and The King and I in London and New York show, Hammerstein was one of the more tough-minded and socially conscious American musical theater artists. Oscar Hammerstein believed in love; he did not believe that it would always end happily.

Death and honors

Hammerstein is the only person named Oscar ever to win an Oscar (Academy Award). He won two Oscars for best original song—in 1941 for “The Last Time I Saw Paris” in the film Lady Be Good, and in 1945 for “It Might As Well Be Spring” in State Fair. In 1950, the team of Rodgers and Hammerstein received The Hundred Year Association of New York‘s Gold Medal Award “in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York.”

Hammerstein died of stomach cancer in his home in Doylestown, Pennsylvania at the age of 65, shortly after the opening of The Sound of Music on Broadway, thus ending one of the most remarkable collaborations in the history of the American musical theatre. The final song he wrote was “Edelweiss” which was added during rehearsals near the end of the second act. To this day, many think it is an Austrian folk song. Sadly, he never lived to see The Sound of Music made into the 1965 film adaptation which became internationally loved, won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and became perhaps his most well-known legacy.

Universally mourned, with the lights of Times Square and London’s West End being dimmed in recognition of his contribution to the musical, he was cremated at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York, and later buried at Southwark Cathedral, England. He was survived by his second wife Dorothy Blanchard Jacobson and his three children, William and Alice by first wife Myra Finn and James by Jacobson.

Advertisements

***NATIONAL NEWS PRESS RELEASE***
LONG-SOUGHT BOYHOOD HOME OF GEORGE WASHINGTON FOUND!
Cellars Contain Evidence from the Lives of the Washington Family

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Archaeologists working at the site of George Washington’s childhood home have located and excavated the remains of the long-sought house where Washington was raised.  The site was the setting of some of the best-known stories related to his youth, including tales of the cherry tree and throwing a stone across the Rappahannock River.

    
Digging at the Ferry Farm site near Fredericksburg, Va., the archaeologists say that evidence unearthed over seven season of excavation has positively confirmed the foundation and cellars that remain from the clapboard-covered wood structure that once housed George, his parents and siblings.      
     “This is it – this is the site of the house where George Washington grew up,” said David Muraca, director of archaeology for The George Washington Foundation (GWF), which owns the property.  Fredericksburg lies about 50 miles south of Washington, D.C., and Ferry Farm is just across the Rappahannock River in Stafford County, Va.  
     Muraca, working with historical archaeologist Philip Levy, associate professor of history at the University of South Florida, found from the evidence that far from being the rustic cottage of common perception, the Washington house was a much larger one-and-a-half-story residence, perched on a bluff overlooking the Rappahannock.  The evidence also shows that a fire that struck the home on Christmas Eve of 1740 apparently was small and localized.  Historians had long believed that the fire had driven the family to live in out-buildings while waiting out repairs.  

     

“If George Washington did indeed chop down a cherry tree, as generations of Americans have believed, this is where it happened,” said Levy, whose research is partly funded by National Geographic.  “There is little actual documentary evidence of Washington’s formative years.  What we see at this site is the best available window into the setting that nurtured the father of our country.”   
     Although the 113-acre National Historic Landmark site called Ferry Farm was known to have been the former home and farm of the Washington family, several attempts by others to locate the house among remains of five farms that once stood on the land had failed.  In their search, the GWF archaeologists excavated two other areas on the property, uncovering remains of one house that predated the Washingtons’ home and one from the 19th century. 

      

Most of the wood and other elements of the original Washington structure are long gone – many of them “recycled” by builders of houses later built on the property or destroyed by Civil War troops who once camped there – and part of the house foundation has eroded away.  But as they dug through layers of soil, the archaeologists came upon the remains of two chimney bases, two elegantly crafted stone-lined cellars and two root cellars, where perishables once were stored. 
     Excavation of the four cellars yielded thousands of artifacts – pieces of the house’s ceilings, painted walls and family hearth; fragments of 18th-century pottery and other ceramics; glass shards, wig curlers and toothbrush handles made of bone.  The cellars constituted a time capsule of evidence that helped the archaeologists confirm that they had indeed found the long-lost residence.  (Complete press release available here…)

   

* * * * *

Stafford is honored to be home for the George Washington’s Boyhood Home, Ferry Farm.   George Washington moved here to Ferry Farm at the age of six, and lived here until the age of 19.  Here, young George grew to manhood, developing his morals, as we know through tales of the “chopping of the cherry tree.”  Though no structures remain on The Washington Family Farm site, archaeological digs are on-going to locate the foundation of the original house.  Self-guided walking tours of the property are open to the public. 

  • Website:  www.FerryFarm.org
  • Hours of Operation:  10am-5pm, daily
  • Admission:  $5.00 Adults, $3.00 Youth (6-17).  Free for kids under 6.
  • Closed:  Thanksgiving Day, Dec. 24, 25, 31
  • Group Tours:  Available any time by appointment at group rates
  • Archaeological Dig Site:  Open May-September
  • Address:  268 King’s Highway, Fredericksburg, VA  22405
  • Location:  Stafford County, VA (east of Fredericksburg on State Route 3)
  • Phone:  (540) 370-0732
  • Fax:  (540) 371-3398

    Staff & Visitors really “Dig George” at Ferry Farm!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,226 other followers

July 2008
M T W T F S S
« Jun   Aug »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: