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Musicals of yesteryear question
Posted by: AlexanderKat 01:43 pm EDT 07/30/21

Yesterday I watched the film SWEET ADELINE which was broadcast recently on TCM. Whenever I view a film musical based on a stage production, I usually look it up on IBDB to see what songs were either used, deleted, or added from the stage to film adaptation. Fortunately, the score for the movie included Jerome Kern's best-remembered songs from the show. What surprised me though was how many performers there were in the original Broadway cast. Nearly one hundred cast members. So my question is how could a show afford to employ so many people? Did they receive a decent living wage back in 1929? Were there adequate dressing rooms as well as bathrooms and emergency exits for such a huge cast? I'm aware the depression affected the theatre causing a probable drop in the number of cast members in the future and that not all shows had such large casts (SHOW BOAT had less than thirty cast members) but once again how could producers actually profit and run a show for over six months back then with so many salaries to pay?
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