American Music, Theater and Film

  • Slave Culture influcences Music

    Slave Culture influcences Music
    African Americans who came to the United States as slaves had a profound effect on music. They created different versions of the banjo and fiddle that were blended with African instruments such as the "bones". Songs such as "wade in the Water" and "Good News Chariots Comin" were Hymns that depicted the hope of a better life for the slaves.
  • The First American Theater Troupe

    The First American Theater Troupe
    The first AMerican theater troupe and playhouse came out of Williamsburg VA. The Lewis Hallem troupe popularized many stage plays that were produced in London. These plays were popular in the SOuth but they were banned in the more religous North. Many of these shows stopped during the Revolutionary War and begun again after
  • St. Cecilia Society

    St. Cecilia Society
    First musical society, titled The St. Cecilia Society, founded in Charleston, South Carolina. This society's history remains shrouded in mystery but is known to be a sponsoring group for concerts and not a performing organization.
  • George Frederick Cooke

    George Frederick Cooke
    First English theater star brought in to promote attendance by Cooper and Dunlap at NY Park Theater.
  • Star Spangled Banner

    Star Spangled Banner
    "The Star Spangled Banner" was written by Francis Scott Key and set to the tune of "Anacreon in Heaven." The original title of the poem by Key was "The Defense of Fort McHenry" and it was first published in several Baltimore newspapers a short time after it was written, probably on September 16, 1814.
  • Handel and Haydn Society

    Handel and Haydn Society
    The Handel & Haydn Society was founded in Boston. It is now the oldest continuous performing arts organization in the U.S.
  • My Country Tis of Thee

    My Country Tis of Thee
    "My Country 'Tis of Thee" (also known as: "America") was first sung at Park Street Church in Boston. The words were written by Samuel Francis Smith and set to the tune of "God Save the King."
  • Minstrel Shows Begin

    Minstrel Shows Begin
    Minstrel Shows were popular throughout the Antebellum Era. Actors donned Blackface took to the stage creating sterotypes of African Americans as being dumb or "Uncle Remus" characters. These performances were socailly acceptable.
  • Copyright Law

    Copyright Law
    First American copyright law. Attributed to the efforts of Dion Boucicault. It actually only protected the title of the play.
  • Edison Invents the Phonograph

    Edison Invents the Phonograph
    Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the electric light, first introduces the Phonograph which was the first music player. Although it produced a squeaky, often unclea sound, Edison's phonograph allowed homes all over the country to listen to songs. The phonogaph was so popular that it at times replace the family piano as the main instrument of the home.
  • Music sprouting in the South

    Music sprouting in the South
    Black folk traditions including "ragged music" were evolving into blues, ragtime, and jazz.
  • Symphony Orchestras

    Symphony Orchestras
    In Boston and Chicago. Devoted to bringing European music to elite American audiences.
  • Vaudeville

    Vaudeville
    Became immensely popular with its coarse jokes and graceful acrobats.
  • "Greatest Show on Earth"

    "Greatest Show on Earth"
    The Barnum and Bailey Circus with P.T. Barnum and James A. Bailey.
  • David Belasco

    David Belasco
    Apprenticed in San Francisco, 1882 moved to Madison Square Theatre in New York as stage manager, and became independent producer in 1895.
  • Metropolitan Opera House Opens

    Metropolitan Opera House Opens
    The Metropolitan Opera House was built and opened in 1883 in New York City. It feauted many famous European singers and mainly catered to the Elite of America. Its "Diamond Horseshoe" was where the new rich sat and showed off their new expensive garments.
    The picture show the Opera House in1905
  • "Wild West" Shows

    "Wild West" Shows
    Distinctively American and headed by William F. ("Buffalo Bill") Cody. Annie Oakley was amount the troupe and was a very talented sharp shooter.
  • Nickelodeons

    Nickelodeons
    Five-cent theaters that came about when the first sequences reached the big screens. Widely popular amongst the nation.
  • The Great Train Robbery

    The Great Train Robbery
    The first story sequence to reach the screen. Was a breathless melodrama that was shown in nickolodeons.
  • The Birth of a Nation

    The Birth of a Nation
    The Birth ofa Nation was a silent movie that premired in 1915 and was directed by DW Griffith. It depicts the Civil War and Reconstruction era , epecially the Ku Klux Klan's "heroic" rise to power in the South
  • "Over There" is first composed

    "Over There" is first composed
    Shortly after the United States declared war on Germany, George M Cohen composed "Over There" as a song for Troops to boost their moral.Popular versions of the song are sung by Nora Bayes and Billy Murray. It is said to be the most popular song of the World War I era.
  • WWI Propaganda Movies

    WWI Propaganda Movies
    During World War I the Committee oF Public Information, lead by George Creel, created a series Propaganda movies attacking the German "Huns". These movies were accompainied by dramatic and patriotic music that would have the audience giving its support to the soldiers over in Europe.
  • Jazz

    Jazz
    Jazz moved up from New Orleans along with the migrating blacks during World War I. Tunes like W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" became instant classics, as the wailing saxophone become the trumpet of the new era. Blacks such as Handy, "Jelly Roll" Morton, and Joseph King Oliver gave birth to jazz.
  • Radio

    Radio
    The invention of the radio knit the nation together. Millions of Americans tuned in to hear favority comedies such as, "Amos n' Andy," "A & P Gypsies," and the "Everyday Hour." The music of famous artists and symphony orchestras was beamed into countless homes.
  • The First "Talkie"-The Jazz Singer

    The First "Talkie"-The Jazz Singer
  • Music of the Depression

    Music of the Depression
    "Brother Can You Spare Me a Dime" by Yip Harburg. Songs similar to this one became popular during the great depression era.
  • WWII Propaganda Films

    WWII Propaganda Films
    Propaganda films during the war were very common. Films showing hatred towards Japanese and Germany motivated support for the allies.
  • Dirty Jap

    Dirty Jap
    "Slap That Dirty Little Jap" became a popular song as hatred for the Japanese grew.
  • TV gains Popularity

    TV gains Popularity
    Television began to grab hold of American Interests. Americans began to purchase televisions and used them to get current news and see what was happening in the world. Americans could also view classic sitcoms with this new form of entertainment. Most notably in the 1952 election, Richard Nixon used Television in his Checkers Speech to get his point across and discredit any falsehoods that he was accused of. The TV was also an excellent way for advertisers to market thier products.
  • The Hollywood Ten

    The Hollywood Ten
    During the Red Scare, a group of Hollywood writers and actors were persecuted for being communists. They refused to speak infront of the House of Un-AMerican Activity and were blacklisted from any job in Hollywood.
  • A Streetcar Named Desire

     	A Streetcar Named Desire
    Written by Tennesee Williams in 1947, this classic drama depics a clash of the Old South and the New Industrial South in the form of the charchetrs Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski.
  • The Death of a Salesman

    The Death of a Salesman
    Arthur Miller wrote this play in 1949 and it is about a man who questions his own gretaness, which therfore led to the hero's downfall.
  • The Crucible

    The Crucible
    Arthur Miller wrote this play as an allegory for the Red Scare of the 1950's. Miller, who had communist ties was brought befre the HUAC. In his play The Crucible, Miller compares the hunt for communists to the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600's. It premiered in 1953.
  • Rock and Roll!

    Rock and Roll!
    In the 1950's music began to change rapidly. An upbeat blues and country style know as Rock and Roll was championed by Elvis Presley who was from Mississippi. This style fused cultural styles of both Black and White Americans and was the anthem of the "baby Boomers". Elvis also used sexual dance moves and outrageous costumes to gain popularity and fame.
  • Televangelists

    Televangelists
    Televangelists were pastors that preached through the television. These men spread the gospel through the TV and attempted to create a more Christian society
  • The Glamour Girls and Bad Boys of Hollywood

    The Glamour Girls and Bad Boys of Hollywood
    Movie Stars were symbols of Americana and the 1950's. Marilyn Monroe was the sex symbol of the generation and Doris Day modeled the Girl Next Door. James Dean also defined the rebellious Baby Boomer Generation and there rebellious ways in Rebel Without a Cause. All these stars and more created a lasting influence on American film.
  • A Raisin in the Sun

    A Raisin in the Sun
    A Raisin in the Sun was a play by Lorraine Hansberry that described the African American experience in the 1950's.
  • The Grammys

    The Grammys
    The first Grammy Award was on may 4, 1959,The annual awards honored many musical artists from different genres and had performances by artists. Part of this ceremony was also televised for the nation to watch.
  • The British Invasion

    The British Invasion
    The British Invasion marked a new age for American music. The sounds from acrooss the pond gave American teens new music to listen too such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
  • Woodstock Music Festival

    Woodstock Music Festival
    Woodstock was a Music Festival over three days in AUgust. At the festival, many musicans performed and there were crowds of young people gathered. At the festival, many spectators noted the harmony between everyone in attendence. This festival was the event that marked the end of the chaos of the 1960's counter culture and ended it with unity and harmony.