Music/Theater/Film Trends Timeline

  • Romeo and Juliet

    Romeo and Juliet
    William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet becomes the first recorded play of Shakespeare to be performed in America. It was directed in New York by a doctor named Joachimus Bertrand. At the same time, the play was still very popular in London.
  • Lewis Hallam Troupe

    Lewis Hallam Troupe
    Lewis Hallam was the first person to assemble an entire company of actors and then bring them to America from Europe. At this time, theaters were uncommon in the colonies. His arrival in Williamsburg, Virginia marked the start of professional theatre in America. Hamlet was one of many plays they brought over. Many of these plays were very popular in London.
  • Yankee Doodle

    Yankee Doodle was a popular jingle originating around the time of the French and Indian war. IT is one of the few little jingles to survive such a great legnth of time. IT was a british officer's chant to mock and tease the "yanks"
  • The Prince of Parthia

    The Prince of Parthia
    This was the first play in America using professional actors. It was performed in a theater in New York which was founded by the American Company. It was written by Thomas Godfrey.
  • Revolutionary Inspiration

    Revolutionary Inspiration
    During and slightly after the American Revolution, many writers were inspired to write dramatically. Some plays also involved heroism. Among these writers were Mercy Otis Warren and Hugh Henry Brackenridge.
  • Instrumentation of the Antebellum Period

    Instrumentation of the Antebellum Period
    During this time period, few primary instruments were common. Pianos, banjo's (an african american derivitive instrument), and brass instruments were most common. The most common musical groups of the time was brass bands.
  • Walnut Street Theatre

    Walnut Street Theatre
    This theatre is the oldest theater that still stands in america today. It is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was built by Pepin and Breschard. Pepin and Breschard ran a circus and also set up various theatres on the east coast.
  • Francis Scott Key

    Francis Scott Key
    FRancis scott key, composed the famous poem, The Star Spangled Banner. He composed it while observing the battle of baltimore, while being held prisoner on a Brittish ship. The poem was later translated into song, and made our national anthem.
  • Music of the Great Awakening

    The great awakening, led to a great religious revival. One result of this, was the increased amounts of religious songs and hyms, commonly used today.
  • Minstrel Shows

    Minstrel Shows
    These shows became very popular in the 40s as they appealed to many white Americans. In these shows, actors performed comical skits, danced, played music, and impersonated African American peple by painting their faces black and demonstrating stereotypes. These shows portrayed black people as lazy, foolish, ignorant, musical, and joyous bufoons. These shows were known to have three main parts, one of which included famous slapstick comedy.
  • Victorian Burlesque

    Victorian Burlesque
    This form of performing arts was brought over from England around the time of the civil war. Women were often casted as men in these plays, and they poked fun at current politics and culture. These performances were too bold for the real theaters so they then became associated with saloons or barrooms. Then men replaced the women producers and made these plays more sexual.
  • Phineas T. Barnum and James A. Bailey

    Phineas T. Barnum and James A. Bailey
    Phineas T. Barnum and James A. Bailey joined forces to satisfy the general public with their new circus. Their show was called the Greatest Show on Earth.
  • Metropolitan Opera House of New York

    Metropolitan Opera House of New York
    The Metropolitan Opera House of New York was started in 1883. Opera houses and large symphony halls became very popular to the wealthy. As this European music was brought to the elite Americans, ragtime was being created in the south. The opra house hosted many plays such as "The Little Minister."
  • Wild West Shows

    Wild West Shows
    Wild West shows began in the world of theater with stars such as Annie Oakley, and Buffalo Bill. There were Indians, buffalo, and more. These shows were all about shooting and the wild life of the cowboy of the West.
  • John Philip Sousa

    John Philip Sousa
    Stars and Stripes ForeverJohn Philip Sousa is commonly known as "The March King." He is commonly known for his patriotic marches, inclding his most famous, "Stars and Stripes Forever." Sousa was also the dirrector of the United States Marine Corps Band.
  • The Little Minister

    The Little Minister
    The little Minister was a famous New York play, featuring actress Maude Adams. While critics were known to dislike the play, it sold out on each and every of its 16 shows.
  • Scott Joplin

    Scott Joplin
    The Maple Leaf RagScott Joplin, one of the few African American musicians of the time, helped create the musical genre of Ragtime. Some of his famous pieces include the "Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Entertainer." Ragtime was a popular genre of music in this time period that consisted of "raggedy" pre-jazz sounding pieces.
  • Edison's Phonograph

    Edison's Phonograph
    Edison's phonograph was in over 150,000 homes. "Canned music" as they called it, was becoming more and more popular, causing the further mechanization of the music industry.
  • Ziegfeld Follies

    Ziegfeld Follies
    Florenz Ziegfeld is very well known for his Ziegfeld Follies in Europe starting in 1907, and is generally known as one of the most important contributers to Broadway musicals. Ziegfeld Follies first came to New York in 1912. These shows were somewhat similar to Vaudeville variety shows. They were known for their beautiful women singing and dancing.
  • The Ballroom Decade

    The Ballroom Decade
    This decade was known to be the ballroom decade. Many restaurants had dancefloors for people to do some classical dancing. One popular dance at this time was the foxtrot. This dance was invented by Harry Fox, a vaudeville actor.
  • Popular songs of this era

    Popular songs of this era
    Some popular songs of this time were Danny Boy, You Made Me Love You, and Alexander's Ragtime Band. Many popular performers were Al Jolson (who not only wrote songs but was a Vaudeville actor), and Irving Berlin. At this time ragtime was very popular, and african americans were bringing jazz and blues across the nation.
  • The Birth of a Nation

    The Birth of a Nation
    In 1915, D.W. Griffith's film turned out to be a hit. This film was about two different families and their lives during the civil war and reconstruction. This film is very famous, but was protested by African Americans when it first came out. In fact many historians believe that this movie was the cause of many race riots soon to come after "The Birth of a Nation" was made.
  • George M. Cohan writes "Over There"

    George M. Cohan writes "Over There"
    "Over There""Over there" was a popular song during World War 1. It was popular because it advocated the United States entering and fighting in WWI. This was an early form of propoganda. It went... Over there, over there
    Send the word, send the word over there,
    That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming
    The drums rum-tumming everywhere.
  • King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band

    King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band
    This was the first important black jazz ensemble in America. Joseph King Oliver came from New Orleans and went to Chicago in 1918. His band was extremely popular, espescially at the Royal Garden Cafe in Chicago. The great Louis Armstrong performed with this group along with Baby Dodds on drums, Lil Hardin on piano, Bill Johnson on banjo, and King Oliver himself playing the cornet.
  • The Charlston

    The Charlston
    the CharlestonThe Charleston was a popular 1920's dance. It was popularly danced to with jazz music. People would often hold dance offs with this and see who could go the longest.
  • Louis Armstrong

    Louis Armstrong
    Louis Armstrong performing liveLouis Armstrong was one of the most famous Jazz musicians of all time. He helped shape the time period of the twenties by playing his trumpet. He was one of the few extremely famous, African American jazz musicians. Some of his famous albumsinclude West End Blues.
  • Movie Theaters Explode into the "Modern Era"

    Movie Theaters Explode into the "Modern Era"
    From the mid 1930's on, movie theaters exploded into the "modern era" of projected picture entertainment. At this time period, the film industry began to explode and so did that of the theater. Theater's raced to be bigger, better, and more lavish. Peole began refering to these new theaters as "Movie Palaces." As well as size, theaters began to show multiple pictures, to satisfy the likes of a larger audience.
  • The Beginning of Swing

    The Beginning of Swing
    Swing music evolved from Jazz and is said to have been started around 1931 by Chick Webb. The problem with music at this time was there was no good way to get it out to the people. The depression caused night life to decrease and musicians struggled making a living espescially in black communities where many types of music from this era evolved from. Soon enough, swing caught on and musicians such as Benny Goodman, and Count Basie. Swing led to swing dancing, and became popular in 1935.
  • Films were a popular source of propaganda During WWII

    Films were a popular source of propaganda During WWII
    During World War 2, ,movie theaters increased in popularity. many of the films released during the period consisted of large anti-german propagada messages. Films such as "Flying Fortress," "Eagle Squadron," "A Yank on the Burma Road," and "Destination Tokyo" were popular during the time and were only a few amung the hundreds of war-based films.
  • Frank Sinatra

    Frank Sinatra
    Frank Sinatra is still one of the most well know singers in American history. Around this time he was at the very top of the charts with his hit songs. Teenage girls of this time were his main audience. Then, in 1942 Sinatra became even more popular with his famous performance at the Paramount Theater in NY. During WWII however, he was hated for avoiding the draft and making so much money while most men fought for America. Overall, Sinatra's career was a historical success in American music.
  • 1940's plays and theater

    1940's plays and theater
    Many prominent plays were released in the 1940's. Many of the popular plays of the time were also released in or made into films. Some of the plays at the time consisted of Harvey, Arsenic and old Lace, and most famously, Oklahoma! Oklahoma was so popular at the time, that it ran over two thousand performances on broadway.
  • Recording Bans

    Recording Bans
    In 1942, the American Federation of Musicians went on strike against recording companies. The recording companies, or at least the major ones, then banned any musicians in the union from recording with them. This went on For two years at the most depending on which record company it was. Although strikes ended in the early 40s, musicians went on strike again in 1948 and recording bans lasted for almost a year.
  • Death of a Salesman

    Death of a Salesman
    Also by Arthur Miller, this play ran for over seven hundred performances. It demonstrated the the psychic expense of failure in a society that offered promised success to everyone. It was very popular in the fifties and soon became a true classic.
  • Segregation at the Movies

    Segregation at the Movies
    Movie theaters were one of many public places that blacks and whites were segregated. African Americans had "Colored Entrances" and were sometimes forced to sit in the back of the theaters.
  • Ozzie and Harriet TV Show

    Ozzie and Harriet TV Show
    This was on of various popular sitcoms of the 50s. It portrayed ideal American family life in the fifties as the real life Nelson family put on a show of parenting and adolescence. It is also the longest running live action sitcom in US television history.
  • The Crucible

    The Crucible
    This play, written by Arthur Miller, was very popular at the time. It was a dramatization of the Salem Witch trials of Massachussetts. The actual trials took place in the 1690s. This play was made to symbolize McCarthyism. Arthur Miller was one who testified under the House Un-American Activities Committee. Before doing this, Miller said he would not name names, but he ended up being asked to do so. Miller would not name names and he was convicted of contempt of congress, and blacklisted.
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    Written by Tennessee Williams, this play was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955. It was about a family in Mississippi living on a plantation farm. Some motifs from this play include greed, sexual desire, and death.
  • Rebel Without a Cause

    Rebel Without a Cause
    This movie was about teenagers living in the suburbs. Actor James Dean expressed the frustration of younger people of this time. This movie forshadowed a cultural upheaval soon to come in the sixties.
  • My Fair Lady

    My Fair Lady
    My fair Lady was a popular brodway play, beginning in 1956. The play surrounds a young girl, taking speech lessons, so she can pass as a proper lady.
  • West Side Story

    West Side Story
    Put together by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents, this Romeo and Juliet like musical was a huge hit on Broadway and later was turned into a movie. It was about two rival gangs, the sharks and the jets. The sharks were from Puerto Rico, and the Jets were white working class men. A jet, Tony ends up falling in love with Maria, who's brother is the leader of the sharks. The original production did over seven hundred performances before going on tour.
  • Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan
    Bob Dylan's was a popular singer and songwriter during the time period. "A Hard Rain is A-Gonna Fall" was one of his famous songs that was in fact written around the ideas of the cuban miscle crisis which had previously occured.
  • From Russia With Love

    From Russia With Love
    This is the second film in the James Bond series. The movie while intertaining, revolvs around cold war politics and ideals. While the dirrectors tried to make no dirrect conections, the overall idea is still not hard to be seen.
  • The Russians are Coming, The Russians Are Coming.

    The Russians are Coming, The Russians Are Coming.
    This is was a film based off the cold war fears of the soviet union. THe film's plot surrounded the idea that a russian submarine went astray and grounded itself right off the shore of a small new-england village,