Show Boat is a musical in two acts, with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II , based on Edna Ferber 's best-selling novel of the same name. The musical follows the lives of the performers, stagehands and dock workers on the Cotton Blossom , a Mississippi River show boat , over 40 years from to Its themes include racial prejudice and tragic, enduring love. The musical was first produced in by Florenz Ziegfeld. The premiere of Show Boat on Broadway was an important event in the history of American musical theatre. It "was a radical departure in musical storytelling, marrying spectacle with seriousness", compared with the trivial and unrealistic operettas , light musical comedies and "Follies"-type musical revues that defined Broadway in the s and early 20th century.
‘Show Boat’ production docks at St. Patrick’s School
HIstory | Show Boat Musical
Ol' man river, Dat ol' man river He mus'know sumpin' But don't say nuthin', He jes'keeps rollin' He keeps on rollin' along. You an'me, we sweat an' strain, Body all achin' an' racket wid pain, Tote dat barge! Lif' dat bale! Git a little drunk An' you land in jail. Ah gits weary An' sick of tryin' Ah'm tired of livin' An' skeered of dyin', But ol' man river, He jes'keeps rolling' along.
It is sung from the point of view of a black stevedore on a showboat ,   and is the most famous song from the show. The song is meant to be performed in a slow tempo, it is sung complete once in the musical's lengthy first scene by the stevedore "Joe" who travels with the boat, and, in the stage version, is heard four more times in brief reprises. Joe serves as a sort of musical one-man Greek chorus , and the song, when reprised, comments on the action, as if saying, "This has happened, but the river keeps rolling on anyway. The song is notable for several aspects: the lyrical pentatonic-scale melody, the subjects of toil and social class, metaphor to the Mississippi , and as a bass solo rare in musicals, solos for baritones or tenors being more common.