Specifics and Generalizations
Posted by: pierce 03:14 am EST 02/08/19
In reply to: Howlround: "How race relations in the United States directly affected the development of musical theatre - Delvino 11:24 am EST 02/07/19

Nonetheless, your statement (and the title you gave to your post) was: BENNETT'S ORIGINAL SETTING FOR "STORY OF LUCY AND JESSIE" WAS A MINSTREL SHOW. Setting? Did you misspeak? The setting, as I've pointed out, was a "Honky Tonk in Loveland." Perhaps you meant concept; maybe that's why someone who read your post observed "I had no idea that that had been the original concept of the number." But as we all know, the only people who can make a definitive statement on the concept of a number are the creators of the number. Which is why I had to ask if you'd actually read (or heard) a statement from Michael Bennett that his staging of "Lucy and Jessie" took inspiration from a minstrel show, or that his concept for the number was the recreation of a minstrel show. If he hadn't, and there is no record that he, or Prince, or Sondheim, or James Goldman wanted a minstrel concept for Phyllis Stone's Loveland number, then it's inaccurate to make a statement like "This was Michael Bennett's original concept" - or setting, or whatever you meant to say. There's nothing wrong with speculating on what inspired Michael Bennett, but that's quite different from stating what Bennett had in mind when he staged "Lucy and Jessie."

The fact is, minstrel shows and minstrel entertainment cannot be separated from blackface and the lampooning of African-American culture - and obviously this has nothing to do with Phyllis Stone's dilemma in "Lucy and Jessie." White gloves may have been used in minstrel shows, but that doesn't mean every single time white gloves are used, you're looking at a minstrel show number. Similarly, an ensemble dancing with their backs to the audience doesn't only happen in minstrel shows. As someone else pointed out, there's no question about aspects of minstrel shows surfacing in films like Holiday Inn and White Christmas, and there's also no question about what composers Sondheim had in mind for the show's pastiche numbers; he's gone on the record regarding this. But if you're going to make definitive statements about Bennett's numbers and their concepts or settings (as you did in the title of your post), it's best to have evidence from Bennett himself.

Previous: Howlround: "How race relations in the United States directly affected the development of musical theatre - Delvino 11:24 am EST 02/07/19
Next: I do apologize for making a statement rather than voicing an opinion. - Delvino 09:32 am EST 02/10/19

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