Baker & Taylor
A look at the life and work of the legendary Broadway producer traces his life, his triumphs and failures, and his lavish productions
Blackwell North Amer
The Ziegfield Touch is the first comprehensive book about the legendary Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. (1867-1932), one of Broadway's greatest producers and most intriguing characters. Perhaps best known as the genius behind Show Boat and the long-running Ziegfield Follies revue series, Ziegfeld spared no expense in making his shows into glittering extravaganzas the likes of which had never before been seen. By introducing innovative, always imaginative staging and lighting techniques; by hiring the foremost composers, lyricists, costumers, and set designers; and by bringing to the stage the best actors, singers, and comedians - as well as the most beautiful showgirls and chorus girls - he permanently transformed musical theater. In short, the name Ziegfeld became a metaphor for panache, a metaphor that worked its way into the language as shorthand for the best of New York theater.
Divided into two acts, The Ziegfeld Touch captures the essence of "The Great Ziegfeld" and his lavish productions. Act I traces the course of his life, providing riveting accounts of his triumphs and failures, his home life, and his many loves - wives Anna Held and Billie Burke, Follies stars Lillian Lorraine and Marilyn Miller among them. Master showman, obsessive gambler, compulsive womanizer, devoted father - the many facets of Flo Ziegfeld's complex personality come together in a fascinating story of a glamorous bygone era.
Act II concentrates on the shows, all 83 of them, and the people integral to them: among the more than 100 biographical sketches included are those of stars Fannie Brice, Louise Brooks, Eddie Cantor, W. C. Fields, and Will Rogers; composers Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern; and designer Joseph Urban. Both sections are richly illustrated with photographs and paintings of stars and sets as well as production shots, original scripts, programs, costume sketches, and other memorabilia; many of the 375 illustrations have never before been reproduced.
Patricia Ziegfeld Stephenson, the daughter of Flo and Billie Burke Ziegfeld, has contributed a Foreword in which she shares her memories of her father. Also featured are a detailed account of the making of a typical show and a chronology of Ziegfeld productions; notes, a complete bibliography, and an index round out the volume.
As relatives of the producer, Richard and Paulette Ziegfeld enjoyed privileged access to previously confidential material. In their quest to unmask the real Flo Ziegfeld they traveled across the country interviewing dozens of his former associates and their family members and unearthing hundreds of extraordinary, previously unpublished photographs. As a result, they have captured the spirit of the man who once epitomized show business in America and who left behind a legacy of elegance, flair, and style.
An illustrated look at the life of work of the legendary Broadway producer traces his life, recounting his triumphs and failures, his home life, his many loves (including his four wives), the stars he launched, and his lavish productions.