KPAC

Gift of Robert L. B. Tobin / McNay Art Museum

KPAC's "The Art of American Popular Song" approaches the end of the line (for the series, not popular song!) with this celebration of great craftsmen. Vernon Duke, Arthur Schwartz, Harry Warren, Kay Swift, Hoagy Carmichael, Vincent Youmans, and Kurt Weill are featured alongside Hugh Martin, who at the time of the original production was the only of the songwriting legends of the first half of the twentieth century still alive.

Sam Arlen

The KPAC series of more than a decade ago, "The Art of American Popular Song," followed a blueprint laid out by the composer and writer Alec Wilder.

Biography.com

Unlike Jerome Kern and Harold Arlen, who wrote their songs with numerous collaborative lyricists, and not at all like Irving Berlin and Cole Porter, who preferred doing it all themselves, writing both the music and the words, Richard Rodgers was most comfortable, and most successful, when in partnership with another. Over the course of his long and storied career in musical theater and beyond, Rodgers enjoyed two important partnerships.

American musical theater is not all fluff with no bite. In fact, the 1930s saw a maturity coming to the genre. George Gershwin and George Kaufman brought biting satire to the musical stage with "Of Thee I Sing." This, in turn, opened the gates for other socially informed shows, such as Harold Rome's "Pins and Needles," a show produced off and on Broadway by members of The Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

The current reprise of "The Art of American Popular Song" on KPAC, KTXI, and online at TPR.ORG is presented as a parallel to the current exhibition at the McNay Art Museum's Brown Gallery - "Broadway: 100 Years of Musical Theatre." This "video prelude," in three parts, focuses on intersections of the radio series and the McNay exhibit. The three short videos, preludes to The Art of Cole Porter,  spotlight artwork by Joseph Urban, Don Jensen, Rouben TerArutunian, and Martin Pakledinaz, all hanging at the McNay's Brown Gallery through June 18.

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