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UnsungMusicalsCo.'s Musical Theatre Historian Ben West Heads to Nation's Capital for Two-Part Lecture Series at The Library of Congress
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 02:46 pm EDT 10/18/19

UNSUNGMUSICALSCO.
HEADS TO THE NATION’S CAPITAL FOR
DIVERSITY AND THE BIRTH OF BROADWAY
A TWO-PART LECTURE SERIES FOR THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
BY MUSICAL THEATRE HISTORIAN BEN WEST

OCTOBER 23, 2019 AND FEBRUARY 19, 2020
AT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

UnsungMusicalsCo. (Ben West, Artistic Director) heads to Washington, D.C. where Show Time! creator Ben West will give a two-part lecture series for The Library of Congress entitled Diversity and the Birth of Broadway. The first lecture, focused on early female authors of the American musical, is set for Wednesday, October 23, 2019 with the second, focused on early African-American authors of the American musical, scheduled on February 19, 2020. Both events will be videotaped for subsequent streaming.

Diversity and the Birth of Broadway: Early Female Authors of the American Musical is the first of a two-part lecture sequence by Ben West, creator of the new documentary musical series The Show Time! Trilogy, offering an exciting account of the American musical’s early female authors, from vaudeville headliner Nora Bayes to legendary hostess Elsa Maxwell. In the first three decades of the 20th century, amidst the climax of the women’s suffrage movement and the aural revolutions of ragtime and jazz, these often-overlooked female trailblazers – librettists, lyricists, composers – were instrumental in opening doors for future generations and laying the foundation for an American art form. ONE NIGHT ONLY: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the Montpelier Room at The Library of Congress (101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC).

TICKETING INFORMATION: No ticket is needed to attend this event. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and not guaranteed. For best seating options, patrons are encouraged to arrive 15-30 minutes before the scheduled start of the event. Registration for the event is encouraged at: www.loc.gov/concerts/lecture-early-female-musicals.html

The second in the two-part lecture sequence is Diversity and the Birth of Broadway: Early Black Authors of the American Musical, offering an exciting account of the American musical’s early African American authors. In the first three decades of the 20th century, against a backdrop of segregation, social discord, and rampant racism, emerged such seminal figures as Duke Ellington, Bert Williams, and Bob Cole. Rich in character and rooted in ragtime and jazz, the groundbreaking work of these African American innovators laid the foundation for both the American popular song and the American musical stage. ONE NIGHT ONLY: Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. in the Montpelier Room at The Library of Congress (101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC).

UMC’s 2019 season has also included the premiere of the new documentary musical 45 Minutes from Coontown, tracing the history of black musical theatre, which played the York Theatre at Saint Peter’s in September; Sex, Satire, and Song: Inside the Broadway Revue, a museum exhibit curated by Show Time! creator Ben West for Yale University’s Irving S. Gilmore Music Library; UMC’s annual Writers Lab, which this season developed Again and Again and Again by Gil Varod and Jonathon Lynch; and educational programs. UMC will launch a new benefit concert, The Passing Show of 2019, in December.

For additional information, please visit UnsungMusicals.org

UnsungMusicalsCo. (UMC) is a nonprofit production company focused on researching, developing, and presenting prescient new works which illuminate the intersection of past, present, and future, and speak to the American musical as a reflection of American consciousness. Founded in 2009, UMC relaunched in 2018 after a three-year hiatus for research and development with its renewed focus on past, present, and future, and projects which entertain, enlighten, and inspire. UMC will premiere The Show Time! Trilogy, three new documentary musicals charting the history and cultural impact of the American musical, between 2018 and 2020. Dedicated also to the preservation of rare musical material for future generations, the company will be receiving its own archival collection in the Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

Ben West (Artistic Director) is a writer, director, producer, performer, and musical theatre historian. His current writing projects include The Show Time! Trilogy, three new documentary musicals charting the evolution and cultural impact of the American musical; Direct from Proctor’s 23rd Street Theatre for One Night Only: January 16, 1920, a new vaudeville documentary; and February ’43, a new documentary musical examining the origins and aftermath of the Minstrel Show. His directing credits include Unsung Carolyn Leigh for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook; Gatsby: The Songs in Concert; Make Mine Manhattan; and The Fig Leaves Are Falling. West recently curated the exhibit Sex, Satire, and Song: Inside the Broadway Revue for Yale University’s Irving S. Gilmore Music Library. He has lectured and spoken at the Library of Congress, U.S. Copyright Office, The New York Public Library, and Yale University. He has worked in various capacities on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally. He is the founder of UMC and a 2017 recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award.
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