1994 Broadway Revival
For this remarkable return to Broadway, Harold Prince helmed what the New York Times called a “gloriously bold re-examination of the indestructible classic.” Show Boat previewed in Toronto in 1993 before gliding into Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre. With choreography by Susan Stroman, the seventy-person cast featured Broadway’s best talent, including Michel Bell as Joe, Rebecca Luker as Magnolia, Lonette McKee as Julie, John McMartin as Cap’n Andy and Elaine Stritch as Parthy.
Utilizing a tightened book, Prince and Stroman created staging and choreography not only to add a richness to the characters and their stories, but also to paint a picture of the political realities of the time. Prince’s 1880’s American South did not shy away from expressing the struggles of African Americans, their recently gained and terribly flawed freedom and the new age in which they found themselves. This revival ran for 947 performances and won five Tony Awards, including Best Revival, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography. The production began its First National Tour in 1995 and made its way to the West End in 1998.
Harold Prince’s watershed production of Show Boat received a cast recording after opening in Toronto in 1993. The album featured original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett, with new additions by William David Brohn, performed under the musical direction of Jeffrey Huard. Featured on this recording are the vocal talents of Michel Bell, Rebecca Luker, Lonette McKee, John McMartin, Elaine Stritch and more.