Among all the classic Broadway shows of the 1930s, a fair number stand out by engaging directly with the New Deal politics of a turbulent decade. Why did the likes of George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart take this leftist turn, and how should one read the great American songs that emerged?
Tim Carter is David G. Frey Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His diverse research interests include the music of late Renaissance and early Baroque Italy; Mozart’s Italian operas; and American musical theater in the mid-twentieth century. He is the author of nine books on these topics, including most recently (with Richard Goldthwaite) Orpheus in the Marketplace: Jacopo Peri and the Economy of Late Renaissance Florence (2013) and “Oklahoma!” The Making of an American Musical (2007). He has also edited four additional volumes and translated two others. Prior to coming to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001, he taught in the United Kingdom at the Universities of Leicester and Lancaster, and at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London. As the 2015–16 Kent R. Mullikin Fellow at the National Humanities Center, he is working on a new book on political musical theater in the U.S. during the Great Depression.
Listen to an interview with Tim Carter about the topic on WUNC-TV’s The State of Things.