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Ziegfeld: The Man Who Invented Show Business

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  47 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Any girl who twists her hat will be fired! – Florenz Ziegfeld

And no Ziegfeld girl ever did as she made her way down the gala stairways of the Ziegfeld Follies in some of the most astonishing spectacles the American theatergoing public ever witnessed. When Florenz Ziegfeld started in theater, it was flea circus, operetta and sideshow all rolled into one. When he left it, th
ebook, 352 pages
Published November 11th 2008 by St. Martin's Press
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Jan 14, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy Ethan Mordden’s theater books even if they are at times snarky (I assume his award-winning gay books are even snarkier and gayer though I find that hard to believe). His books covering each decade of the musical theater are a treat and a great resource when you suddenly feel compelled to read about the staging of Bloomer Girl or want to know just exactly what the Princess Theatre shows were like. His Ziegfeld book is a great companion and in some ways really starts his that story ...more
When I was in high school, my small town held a benefit to raise money to restore our late nineteenth-century opera house. It was a night of Broadway numbers from a wide range of shows. For part of it, my job was to escort elaborately-garbed women down a staircase while someone sang "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody." That was my first exposure to the concept of the Ziegfeld girl. Through this book, I finally got to learn a bit more.

Mordden's main point is to show how Ziegfeld created the concept
Kate Stout
Aug 16, 2015 Kate Stout rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio
Very limited bio - heavy on the history of Broadway, relatively light on Ziegfiled's personal life other than sharing who his newest favorite was. Also didn't give a sense of the tableau and "beautiful girls" who are such an important part of the legend. I would have loved to learn simple facts: how many girls tended to be in the show, how were they staged. Did he start out with just a few, and by the end have hundreds? (As the movies tend to make you believe?).

It's ok
Debra Pawlak
If you want a good history of American theater--especially Broadway--this is a fine book for you. But if you are looking for a biography on Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.--look elsewhere. There were few stories about the man himself and what made him tick--which is what I was looking for. Don't know much more about him personally than I did before I read the book. Lots of interesting people threaded throughout the pages (i.e., Anne Held, Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, etc.), but most of the focus was on thei ...more
Nov 17, 2009 Rory rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs-and-bios
I appreciated Mordden's super-familiar, prosey-insidery-magaziney style at first. It was surprising and helped weave Ziegfeld's early days into a promising American Tale. And lost me. I realized this book is really for Broadway die-hards, and that Mordden really doesn't care if you can keep up with all the allusions, name-dropping and fabulousness. Oh, well.
Jun 29, 2009 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun book! It's more about Broadway during Ziegfeld's lifetime in it; than his life in particular. But it's really quite a fascinating look at the beginnings of Broadway and how it was shaped by Ziegfeld and his Follies (which contained more than the girls which I didn't realize).
Apr 09, 2009 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
much info about famous former stars of theater and times i knew little about, interesting details and well written by a man who has a vast knowledge about the subject.
Jim Bartruff
Aug 30, 2012 Jim Bartruff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of useful background to the man, his theatre, his times and the nature of show business at the beginning of the 20th century.
Jul 31, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of fun -- enchanting, even, if this is a subject that appeals to you. Plus the most amusing bibliography I've ever read.
Aug 11, 2009 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, but only because I was interested in the time period. The writing was a little dry in places.
Malcolm Frawley
A fascinating life in 'theatre' suffers a little from pedestrian story-telling.
Jun 10, 2013 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly about his shows, not alot about the man.
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