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Before the Parade Passes By: Gower Champion and the Glorious American Musical
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Before the Parade Passes By: Gower Champion and the Glorious American Musical

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  14 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
During the Golden Age of the Broadway musical, few director-choreographers could infuse a new musical with dance and movement in quite the way Gower Champion could. From his earliest Broadway success with Bye Bye Birdie to his triumphant and bittersweet valedictory, 42nd Street, musicals directed by Champion filled the proscenium with life. At their best, they touched the ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Press
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Nicole
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fosse, Robbins, and Bennett all get their due. Here is Gower Champion's. This book strikes a perfect balance between detailed examinations of his work and insight into his personal life, all ending in what is perhaps the most show business moment in Broadway history, the death of the man himself on opening night. Champion was a singular talent and this should be required reading for Broadway fans. Pair this book with YouTube clips of his work, and you'll begin to see where everything came from.
Carol
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
LOVED this book because it is the fullest treatment to date of Champion's life, work & contributions to the American musical. It is helped tremendously by interviews &memorabilia from Marge Champion, Jess Gregg & many, many co-workers & friends such as Carol Channing, Debbie Reynolds, Jerry Orbach, just to pick three. It helps if you REALLY enjoy behind-the-scenes theatre stories b/c the author goes into deliciously excruciating detail of processes, changes, try-outs, experiments ...more
Taylor
Feb 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Whenever I think of Gower Champion I think of the Champion-like character in All That Jazz played by Jon Lithgow. Because of this portrayal [among other things], in terms of the great director-choreographers Champion is remembered as just not being of the same caliber as Bob Fosse or Michael Bennett.

This very detailed biography really champions Champion [sorry i couldn't help it]. It's a great story and covers Champions years as a dancer with wife and partner Marge Champion - they're days of da
...more
Gary
May 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Dry.....dry.....dry....The book started off fine but the details of virtually every rehearsal the man conducted were too much. I ended up reading only the first sentence of a lot of paragraphs. Endless descriptions of musical numbers cut from shows I have never had the opportunity to see weren't very interesting. By the time I got to 42nd Street, a show I had seen I no longer cared.
By the end of the book you still don't feel like you got to know Gower very well. It was way to technical.
Christopher
Aug 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: theatre folk
This is one of the better theater bios I've read, particularly in the descriptions of the actual process and product of the subject. If you want great descriptions of certain numbers for The Happy Time, Dolly, 42nd Street, etc., this is a good resource.
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John Anthony Gilvey is an educator, stage director, and author of Before the Parade Passes By: Gower Champion and the Glorious American Musical. A graduate of New York Universitys doctoral program in Educational Theatre, he is a noted authority on the Broadway musical."
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“Since boyhood, the sandy coast of Southern California with its mazes of rocky crags towering high above the Pacific had been Gower Champion’s refuge for reflection.” 0 likes
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