Broadway: The Golden Age

Filmmaker Rick McKay interviewed a slew of theater veterans—Carol Burnett, Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, Stephen Sondheim, Chita Rivera, and many more—for this leisurely look at New York theater from the 1940s through the '60s. Not a comprehensive chronicle, this 2003 documentary focuses on stories that illustrate the three Ts of showbiz: talent, timing, and tenacity. There are sagas of overnight stardom (chorus girl Shirley MacLaine stepping into the lead in The Pajama Game) and unlikely comebacks (alcoholic has-been Laurette Taylor making her triumphant return in The Glass Menagerie). Only a few archival clips communicate the thrill of live performance—John Raitt in Carousel, a dance number by Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, the great Kim Stanley merging comedy and pathos in Bus Stop—but the talking heads are thoughtful and candid, which makes this a treasure trove for theater buffs. 111 min.

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