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First On Stage
Years ago, while teaching college courses in the History of American Musical Theatre, my research exposed numerous instances of innovation in the art form (“this was the first time…”) as theatrical technologies, along with musical styles and forms, evolved. I began to “collect” such phrases, which later included people, theatrical venues and other occasional oddities, into the collection and organized the data chronologically.
At this site, we focus on historical firsts. Innovation creates history, and this is a collection of innovative events, decisions and inventions. Among other things, the collection includes initial appearances of popular shows, songs and performers. Here, you’ll find descriptions of theatrical firsts in America from 1665 to 2000. Each “historical first” appears in bold type.
Generally, the New York opening is considered the finished form of any work (even if subsequent changes occur during the New York run). For the sake of maintaining some historical perspective, this site covers events through the 1999-2000 season.
Ongoing additions to the site include textual entries and pictures of people and theatrical venues. One project will soon offer links to audio files of songs in the public domain; other improvements may occur as they are invented or suggested.
We owe much to those who have assisted in the development and presentation of this material. Please see our “Cast & Crew” page. To everyone who appears there, I offer my deepest thanks.
Perhaps you will find something here that will initiate your own research. You might want to have an item considered for inclusion at the site (if so, please contact me). You might wish to correct an error that you find here (if so, by all means contact me). You may even find items that will pique your curiosity and motivate you to seek answers. We hope that this site will bring you closer to the theatrical art form that has proven time and again to be our most beloved: the musical.
Wayne Hamilton, MFA
2009
First On Stage
Cast & Crew

Content Researcher/Author
Wayne Hamilton, MFA

Programmer
Jim Moore
ReadyWebWare.com

Opening Graphics
Dan Schletty & Richard Schletty
SchlettyDesign.com

Content Contributors/Advisors
Bobby Golibart
Gerald F. Muller, DMA
Alan Pickrell, Ph.D.
First On Stage

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First On Stage Interesting Facts and Trivia about Broadway Musicals, Musical History, Musical Theater, People, Performers, and Songs. A collection of historical firsts in American musical theatre. Playwright Arthur Kopit left the world of straight plays to venture into musical theatre with the opening of Nine in May of 1982. Nine was Kopit's first musical, and it earned him a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical. Composer-lyricist Maury Yeston won a Tony Award for Best Original Score with this production, his first on Broadway. Tommy Tune directed and choreographed; nominated for a Tony in both categories, he won for direction. The show is based on Federico Fellini's film 81/2. The musical starred Raul Julia and Karen Akers in her Broadway debut. Julia was nominated for a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical; Akers won the Theatre World award and was nominated for a Tony as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Anita Morris was nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, William Ivey Long won for Best Costume Design, Marcia Madiera was nominated for Best Lighting Design, Lawrence Miller was nominated for Best Scenic Design, and Nine won the Tony and the Drama Desk awards for Best Musical.


Ladies and gentlemen, this first selection was randomly generated for your edification and delight!