The key to the creation of the great American musical was collaboration between black and white artists. This class puts the spotlight on the artistry and performances that are too often overlooked when chronicling one of this country’s unique legacies. As leading examples, Ken Stevens will discuss choreographer George Balanchine, who called for acclaimed dancers Fayard and Harold Nicholas to appear in the Rogers and Hart musical Babes in Arms, Bert Williams, who became one of the highest paid members of the Ziegfeld Follies, and Shelton Brooks, who wrote Sophie Tucker’s signature song “Some of These Days.”
Ken Stevens began his theater career in Cincinnati where he co-founded the Showboat Majestic and served as a Rockefeller Fellow at Playhouse in the Park and the University of Cincinnati. In 1972 Ken joined the faculty of Eastern Michigan University (EMU) where he created both the musical theater program and the graduate and undergraduate programs in arts management. Since retiring in 2014, he has resumed leadership positions for the Michigan Legacy Art Park at Crystal Mountain Resort and at Novi’s Villa Barr Art Park, and continues to supervise arts management interns at EMU.