Showboat – a Musical Campaign Against Racism

many different methods of eliminating it, but some people’s opinions just can’t be changed. There have been many methods of attempts to eliminate problems like racism, such as, newspaper articles, campaigns, speeches, TV programs, and even, a musical. One of the most important American musicals in history was Showboat, produced by Jerome Kern an Oscar Hammerstein in the late 1920s. It is an excellent representation of how we saw them at the time negatively affect the lives of different groups of people over an 80 year period. Throughout this musical, the riders use lyrics, storyline and plot twist and different character relationship to effectively convince the audience that racism was harmful to African Americans. Let’s take a deeper look at some of these tactics.Showboat is said to be one of the most socially impacting musicals in American theatrical history. One of the reasons for this is because of its intense representation of many real-life situations in America during the time. In the book “Strike Up the Band”, author Scott Miller quotes Robert Coleman from the Daily Mirror who said that Showboat was “‘a work of genius'” and went on to say… “‘it shows that managers [producers] have not until now realized the tremendous possibilities of the musical comedy as an art form,'” (p.24). Basically, it was a shocker for the public, to have such a realistic situations thrust upon them in the form of theatre, because until now, it had been a way for them to escape life, not to think about it at all, much less in the way that Kern and Hammerstein would have them. It was most likely upsetting, and yet still fascinating for them to face their daily situations and social issues and such a tremendous work of art. Along with just everyday problems, the show primarily will pull through and racism. Again in his book, Scott Miller says that “Showboat raised race issues out of the abstract for white audiences and gave them human faces,” (p. 25). In other words, people were…

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