Author: Nicole

The Band Wagon: Les Brown

The Band Wagon: Les Brown

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You’ve seen the movie, right? Or read the book, right? Or seen the play or seen the musical on stage, right? I’m talking about Les Brown, or maybe a character called Les Brown, or maybe it’s you: the guy who went to see a movie that’s got no plot, and all he talked about afterwards was the way those beautiful people sang together.

Les Brown got a lot wrong sometimes but a lot right, which makes him an important figure in theater history, if only with the wrong reasons. He was certainly a figure of the American theater, as well he should be, but he had some very good ideas about what a play should be, and he really thought he was being clever by making a piece of literature from a movie. As far as I can tell he only did it to make a buck, which really isn’t the kind of thing a person wants to spend his career doing. And then, he had an idea of what was going on, and was right. And he seemed to have a rather inflated sense of his own importance, or the importance of the work he was making.

The film was called The Band Wagon, and it was a movie that had been made for Columbia Pictures, but which had been turned down by United Artists. That had happened to other films, I’d heard.

He was a friend, I’d heard. Not friends in the theater sense. Friends on the stage, I think. At the time, he was about 22, I think. I’d heard that he was a dancer, that he’d been on Broadway, but I don’t know what he said, so I’m hoping I’m wrong about that. And I’m hoping it wasn’t true, that he was actually doing all this with real talent, and that he thought he had a right to tell the world exactly how he was doing it. And he seemed to think, from time to time, that he was making an important change in the American Theatre

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