PODCAST There’s no business like show business — thanks to Lee, Sam and JJ Shubert, the Syracuse brothers who forever changed the American theatrical business in the 20th century.
Broadway is back! And the marquees of New York’s theater district are again glowing with the excitement of live entertainment.
And many of these theaters were built and operated by the Shubert Brothers, impresarios who helped shape the physical nature of the Broadway theater district itself, creating the close cluster of stages that give Times Square its energy and glamour.
In this show, we’ll be visiting the dawn of Times Square itself and the evolution of the American musical — from coy operettas and flirty song-filled revues filled with chorus girls.
The Shuberts were there from the beginning. After fending off their rivals (namely the Syndicate), the Shuberts centered their empire around an alleyway that would quickly take their name — Shubert Alley.
They were innovative and they were ruthless, generous and often cruel (especially to each other). During the 1950s and 60s, the Shubert empire almost crumbled — only to rise again in the 1970s and 1980s thanks to A Chorus Line and some very musical felines.
FEATURING A visit to the Shubert Archive above the Lyceum Theatre, a magical trove of historical items from the American stage.
Listen Now – The Shuberts
Our thanks to Mark E. Swartz, Sylvia Wang and Arielle Dorlester for giving us a marvelous tour of the Shubert Archive.
After you’ve listened to this show on the history of Broadway, dive back into the back catalog and listen to these shows referred to on the show:
Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Golden Age of Broadway
The Broadway Musical: Setting the Stage
Florenz Ziegfeld and the Ziegfeld Follies
And here’s a special Spotify playlist inspired by this week’s show, featuring tunes which were made famous in America on Shubert stages — either in original runs or very acclaimed revivals.
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Images from the Shubert Archive (taken by Greg):
2 replies on “The Shuberts: The Brothers Who Built Broadway”
Thanks for this one. A terrific bit of history. My grandfather worked for the NY Herald. My first show was a Bye Bye Birdie revival. It’s great to have Broadway back.
We will be making our third trip spread over 22 years to NYC in January. (From southern Illinois.) We have claimed tickets to see “To Kill A Mockingbird” at the Schubert. Your history broadcast just increases our excitement. We have tickets for two other shows. We also have tickets to tour The Players club due to listening to you. Thank you.