The Room Where It Happens: Palladium to Host Election-Year Exhibit on Politics in Musicals
(CARMEL, Ind.) - The Palladium will usher in the presidential election with an exhibit mixing the political and the musical.
The Great American Songbook Foundation's exhibit gallery will spotlight five Broadway musicals on political themes, from George Gershwin's "Of Thee I Sing" to "Hamilton." Also featured are "1776," the Leonard Bernstein-written flop "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," and "Camelot," which became a metaphor for John Kennedy's administration.
While those five shows will occupy the spotlight, smaller exhibits will touch on political shows like "Fiorello!" and shows which touched on political issues, like "Hair"'s commentary on Vietnam and "South Pacific"'s blast at racism. Foundation executive director Chris Lewis says the exhibits will feature sheet music, props and other items from the musicals, as well as related memorabilia, like composer Jerry Herman's campaign-season rewrite of his biggest hit to make it "Hello, Lyndon!" Visitors can cast votes on issues the musicals raised, like the "Hamilton" cast's post-curtain address to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Lewis says particularly in a divisive political climate, the exhibit is a chance to both showcase the foundation's central mission and provide a lighter counterbalance to the ugliness of the campaign.
Smaller traveling versions of the exhibition will go to libraries, schools and community groups.
Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)