Playbill: An Introduction

Summer Hoagland-Abernathy, IV Leader Editor-in-Chief

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     From the view in the nosebleed seats, Broadway and the world of “sex, drugs and rock and roll” never collided until very recently, even during many years within the sexual revolution, but a peek behind the curtains reveals a vastly different view. 

     Broadway took on a certain stigma during its first Golden Age—approximately 1940-1959—which was a cheesy, innocent and sometimes conservative view on the world’s most romantic issues. 

     “Oklahoma!” (1943), “The Sound of Music” (1959) and “My Fair Lady” (1956) are three of the most famous musicals to come out of Broadway’s Golden Age, and they are all arguably about the same topics. Man and woman are a poor match in the beginning, but woman acquiesces, and the two fall in love; meanwhile social, political and class wars rage in the background, and the couple ascends above the drama. 

     However, a closer look at the musicals reveals foreshadowing to liberal movements of the 1960s and 1970s. 

     High sexual tension rages between characters during quite the conservative time in American history. And in the case of “Oklahoma!,” the antagonist Jud is even punished for his objectification of women via romantic rejection and in the end, death. 

     But the world of Broadway as it relates to sexuality and the sexual revolution for both women and the LGBTQA+ community goes so much farther than its Golden Age and simple sexual tension between characters. 

     Therefore, within this series of articles, several experts will be referenced for their knowledge on theatre and sexuality:

• IVCC’s stage performance director Don Grant
Zellmer, who has acted, directed and taught
theatre professionally for numerous years.
• Mental health therapist Christine Caputo, MS,
LCPC, who serves many LGBTQA+ youth
across the state.
• And local thespian Bailey Banks, whose work
in Illinois Valley theatre spans 19 shows with
credentials in acting, directing and stage crew
jobs.
     So find your seat, turn off your cell phone and settle in for the evening. “Broadway: America’s Greatest Sex Symbol” will begin momentarily.

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