Show Boat is a musical in two acts with music by Jerome Kern and book (based on a novel by Edna Ferber) and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. One notable exception is the song Bill, which was originally written by Kern and author-lyricist P. G. Wodehouse in 1917 but reworked by Hammerstein for Show Boat. Two other songs not by Kern and Hammerstein — "Goodbye, My Lady Love" by Joseph Howard and "After the Ball" by Charles K. Harris — have always been integral to the show.
The plot chronicles the lives of those living and working on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat, from 1880 to 1927. The show's dominant themes include racial prejudice and tragic, enduring love. Show Boat is widely considered one of the most influential works of the American musical theatre. As the first true American "musical play", it marked a significant departure from operettas, light musical comedies of the 1890s and early 20th century and the "Follies"-type musical revues that had defined Broadway. According to The Complete Book of Light Opera, "Here we come to a completely new genre – the musical play as distinguished from musical comedy. Now... the play was the thing, and everything else was subservient to that play. Now... came complete integration of song, humor and production numbers into a single and inextricable artistic entity."
Show Boat is by far the most frequently revived American musical of its era, not only because of its songs, but also because its libretto, though clearly dated in comparison to those of more recent musicals, is considered to be exceptionally good for a musical of that era. The musical has won both the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical (1995) and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival (2008). I audtioned for this show when i was rehearsing Aida in June. I am so excited to be asked back to the Media Theatre and join the ensemble of this incredible show! Make sure you come check it out!! http://www.mediatheatre.org/