Cover image for Broadway, the golden years : Jerome Robbins and the great choreographer-directors : 1940 to the present
Broadway, the golden years : Jerome Robbins and the great choreographer-directors : 1940 to the present
Long, Robert Emmet.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Continuum, [2001]

Physical Description:
312 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1785.A1 L65 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This is a group portrait or biography of such great Broadway choreographers as Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, Michael Bennett, Tommy Tune, and Graciela Daniele. The time frame is the late 1930s up to Broadway's latest hits, like The Producers.

Author Notes

Robert Emmet Long, a writer and editor who, although specializing in the world of art and culture, is equally comfortable with the subject of complex social issues.

His book, "The Achieving of the Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1920-1925", detailed not only the writing of the American classic, but its implications to its era as well. Another work, "The Films of Merchant and Ivory" was written with film producer Ismail Merchant, who, together with director James Ivory, created such films as "A Room with a View" and "Howard's End", along with documentaries and shorts; the book chronicles their collaboration.

Robert Emmet Long has also served as editor for several volumes of the H.W. Wilson The Reference Shelf series, which brings expert articles from a large range of national publications together to offer up-to-date information, analysis, and opinion on important contemporary issues.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Long set an ambitious goal when he started this history of the lives and careers of eight of Broadway's greatest choreographers, from Agnes de Mille to Tommy Tune, with special emphasis on Jerome Robbins. By Long's reckoning, the golden years of the American musical began with the 1943 opening of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, the first fully integrated, serious musical, and ended somewhere in the late '70s and early '80s, when big-budget shows got too big, and the concept musical became all the rage. The fact that Long's book falls short is hardly surprising; 287 pages aren't nearly enough to cover 40 years of theater history. It is surprising that he packs as much as he does into the book: biographical sketches, artistic influences, detailed descriptions of choreography, even something about each choreographer's creative process (the discussion of the brilliant, driven, sex-addicted Bob Fosse is particularly fascinating). And it is gratifying to see how well--in such polished, readable prose--Long presents the plethora of information he gathered for the book. --Jack Helbig

Publisher's Weekly Review

A literature critic, commentator on the performing arts, author of hundreds of magazine articles (in the Nation, Saturday Review, etc.) and author or editor of 30 books on subjects like Hawthorne, Fitzgerald, Thurber and the films of Merchant and Ivory, Long certainly has the credentials for this latest project. But his tenure as a New York drama critic (North American Review) cinches the deal. In this colorful history of the Great White Way, he deftly traces the Broadway musical's evolution from WWII to the present, covering such hits as A Chorus Line, Gypsy, The Pirates of Penzance and The Producers. Long documents the fancy footwork of Broadway's great choreographer-directors Agnes de Mille (Oklahoma!), Bob Fosse (Cabaret), Gower Champion (42nd Street), Michael Bennett (Dreamgirls) and Tommy Tune (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas). While these major talents receive full chapter profiles, Jerome Robbins takes center stage in a 100-page portrait packed with fascinating anecdotes: he turned A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum from flop to hit; his 1943 collaboration with Leonard Bernstein on the innovative Fancy Free ballet evolved into Broadway's On the Town. It might even be said that Robbins choreographed this book, arranging for his associates to be interviewed by Long, and making available the coveted rehearsal tapes. A chapter on Broadway today brings down the curtain on this marvelously entertaining and exuberant critical history. 15 b&w photos. (Dec.) Forecast: This fine book will be greeted with applause by the many Broadway buffs, show-tune collectors and musical mavens. Booksellers would do well to display it alongside Greg Lawrence's Dance with Demons: The Life of Jerome Robbins (Forecasts, Apr. 30). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Several retrospective looks at the Great White Way have been published in the last year, including Steven Suskin's Broadway Yearbook (LJ 8/01) and the New York Times Book of Broadway (LJ 10/15/01). This title differs in several ways. Most important, rather than a Broadway overview, it is primarily a series of short biographical essays on choreographer-directors Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, Michael Bennett, and Tommy Tune, with Robbins getting the lion's share of the attention. Their creative lives are told in the context of their Broadway successes and failures. A critic of American and British literature and drama, Long is interested in how various dance and music styles made their way into the commercial theater of the time. Ultimately, although he writes in a lively, chatty, informal style, the price and narrow subject remove his book from the selection lists of smaller public libraries and into the realm of larger libraries and theater collections. J. Sara Paulk, Coastal Plain Regional Lib., Tifton, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Long is an author with many interests, witness his list of credits--Ingmar Bergman: Film and Stage (CH, Jul'94), The Films of Merchant Ivory (CH, Feb'92), The Great Succession: Henry James and the Legacy of Hawthorne (CH, Jul'80), to name just a few of his many books. Now he turns to musical theater and how some choreographers have taken over the entire direction of a show. He gives separate consideration to Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, Michael Bennett, and Tommy Tune. A final chapter presents shorter treatments of Graciela Daniele, Rob Marshall, and Susan Stroman. For each he gives a fairly standard resume of the artist's career, moving from show to show. He acknowledges his interviews with many theatrical folk, but his account is primarily an amalgamation of data from published material (endnotes are helpful, and the bibliography is excellent). Good one-stop shopping for material on principal choreographers and a link to fuller accounts, this is a good book for performing arts collections and large academic and public libraries, despite a mediocre section of photographs that does little to illumine the text. R. D. Johnson emeritus, SUNY College at Oneonta

Table of Contents

Part 1 Establishing the Tradition
1 Agnes de Mille
2 Jerome Robbins: Early Fame
3 Jerome Robbins: West Side Story
4 Jerome Robbins: The Later Career
Part 2 Extending the Line
5 Bob Fosse
6 Gower Champion
7 Michael Bennett
8 Tommy Tune
Epilogue: Broadway Today
Select Bibliography