David Braham (1834 – April 11, 1905) was a London-born musical theatre composer most famous for his work with Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart. He has been called "the American Offenbach".
David Braham was born in London in 1834. As a young man, he aspired to become a professional musician and began studying the harp. However, because he was unable to get his bulky instrument on board a stagecoach, he later switched to the violin.He proved to be an adept violinist, performing in concerts at a young age. He was the uncle of John Joseph Braham Sr.
The Braham family immigrated to New York City when David was 15. Upon arriving in New York, Braham began working as a violinist in the orchestra accompanying the Pony Moore Minstrels. He also played in the pit orchestras of various New York auditoriums, headed an 18-piece orchestra at the New Canterbury concert saloon at 585 Broadway,and led a military band.
The first Broadway musical to feature music by David Braham was Pluto,produced by William Horace Lingard at the Theatre Comique in 1869. Braham's success as a composer continued through the early 1870s, during which time he wrote numbers for such performers as James McKee, then-child star Annie Yeamans, and P. T. Barnum performer General Tom Thumb.
In 1873, David Braham collaborated with Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart on the song The Mulligan Guard, with music by Braham and lyrics by Harrigan. The song was presented on July 15, 1873 as part of a vaudeville sketch which featured Harrigan and Hart wearing unusual American Civil War-era military costumes.
This collaboration marked the first of many between Braham, Harrigan, and Hart. From that point onwards, Braham became firmly associated with the two. Although he did go on to write melodies for other lyricists, his success in Broadway theater came almost entirely as a result of his Harrigan and Hart scores. In November 1876, Harrigan married Braham's daughter Annie.
The success of The Mulligan Guard led to a series of burlesques which would become known as the "Mulligan plays". The Mulligan plays focused on the everyday life of New York City, appealing to a variety of racial groups, including Irish Americans, German Americans, and African Americans.
The first of these Mulligan plays was The Mulligan Guard's Ball , followed by The Mulligan Guard's Picnic, The Mulligan Guard's Chowder, The Mulligan Guard's Christmas, and various others. Although most of the Mulligan plays followed the same naming pattern, the final two shows in the series were titled Cordelia's Aspirations and Dan's Tribulations. The Mulligan plays featured several popular songs, all of which were written by Braham, including The Pitcher of Beer and Hats Off to Me.
The last Mulligan play to be produced was Dan's Tribulations on April 7, 1884. Shortly after it opened, the New Theatre Comique, at which many of the Harrigan and Hart shows had been produced, burned down. In 1885, Harrigan and Hart separated, and neither they nor Braham were ever able to singularly attain the same level of success that they had achieved as a team.
David Braham died in 1905.On May 21, 1906, Harrigan produced a revival of Old Lavender , a musical he and Braham had written together. In 1985, a musical titled Harrigan 'n Hart was produced at the Longacre Theatre, featuring songs by Harrigan and Braham.
Musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger – are communicated through words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Although musical theatre overlaps with other theatrical forms like opera and dance, it may be distinguished by the equal importance given to the music as compared with the dialogue, movement and other elements. Since the early 20th century, musical theatre stage works have generally been called, simply, musicals.
Jacques Offenbach was a German-born French composer, cellist and impresario of the Romantic period. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s to the 1870s, and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss Jr. and Arthur Sullivan. His best-known works were continually revived during the 20th century, and many of his operettas continue to be staged in the 21st. The Tales of Hoffmann remains part of the standard opera repertory.
Broadway theatre, or Broadway, are the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats, located in the Theater District and the Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Broadway and London's West End together represent the highest commercial level of live theater in the English-speaking world.
Jumbo is a musical produced by Billy Rose, with music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and book by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur.
Ernest Guiraud was an American-born French composer and music teacher. He is best known for writing the traditional orchestral recitatives used for Bizet's opera Carmen and for Offenbach's opera Les contes d'Hoffmann.
Edward Harrigan, sometimes called Ned Harrigan, was an Irish-American actor, singer, dancer, playwright, lyricist and theater producer who, together with Tony Hart, formed one of the most celebrated theatrical partnerships of the 19th century. His career began in minstrelsy and variety but progressed to the production of multi-act plays full of singing, dancing and physical comedy, making Harrigan one of the founding fathers of modern American musical theatre.
Alexandre Charles Lecocq was a French composer, known for his opérettes and opéras comiques. He became the most prominent successor to Jacques Offenbach in this sphere, and enjoyed considerable success in the 1870s and early 1880s, before the changing musical fashions of the late 19th century made his style of composition less popular. His few serious works include the opera Plutus (1886), which was not a success, and the ballet Le cygne (1899). His only piece to survive in the regular modern operatic repertory is his 1872 opéra comique La fille de Madame Angot. Others of his more than forty stage works receive occasional revivals.
Robinson Crusoé is an opéra comique with music by Jacques Offenbach and words by Eugène Cormon and Hector-Jonathan Crémieux. It premiered in Paris on 23 November 1867.
Richard Barker Cobb Temple was an English opera singer, actor and stage director, best known for his performances in the bass-baritone roles in the famous series of Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas.
Evangeline Estelle Gazina, better known under her stage name, Kate Santley, was a German-born actress, singer and comedian. After spending her childhood in the US, she came to England in 1861, where she had a successful career, later also becoming a theatre manager.
Henry Brougham Farnie, often called H. B. Farnie, was a British librettist and adapter of French operettas and an author. Some of his English-language versions of operettas became record-setting hits on the London stage of the 1870s and 1880s, strongly competing with the Gilbert and Sullivan operas being played at the same time.
Tony Hart, born Anthony J. Cannon, was an American actor, comedian and singer. He is best known for working with Edward Harrigan in the late 19th century comedy team of Harrigan & Hart.
John Joseph Braham, Sr. was an Anglo-American musical theater conductor and composer who introduced the works of Gilbert and Sullivan to the United States and composed some of the earliest original orchestral scores for silent film.
Albert Vizentini was a French violinist, composer, conductor and music writer, born in Paris on 9 November 1841, and died there on 21 October 1906. His main centre of activity was the French capital, but he also worked for ten years in Russia and toured in Britain and Ireland.
Harrigan 'N Hart is a musical with a book by Michael Stewart, lyrics by Peter Walker, and music by Max Showalter. The show is based on the book The Merry Partners by Ely Jacques Kahn, Jr. and material found by Nedda Harrigan Logan.
The Theatre Comique, formerly Wood's Minstrel Hall, was a venue on Broadway in Manhattan, New York City. It was built in 1862, replacing a synagogue on the site.
The Leather Patch is an 1886 comedic play by Edward Harrigan with songs by David Braham. It debuted at Harrigan's Park Theatre in New York City on February 15, 1886 and ran through May.
The Major is an 1881 comedic play produced by Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart.
Henry Nathaniel Braham was a British music hall comic vocalist and actor. He toured with vaudeville impresario Tony Pastor in the 1870s and was a leading low comedian with American actor-manager William H. Crane for five years acting the part of Baron Ling Ching the Chinese Ambassador in Crane's most celebrated play, The Senator. He acted on Broadway in the light opera Sergeant Kitty with Virginia Earle, and then in silent film where he played Cameron's faithful servant (uncredited) in DW Griffith's controversial epic The Birth of a Nation.
Development of musical theatre refers to the historical development of theatrical performance combined with music that culminated in the integrated form of modern musical theatre that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. Although music has been a part of dramatic presentations since ancient times, modern Western musical theatre developed from several lines of antecedents that evolved over several centuries through the 18th century when the Ballad Opera and pantomime emerged in England and its colonies as the most popular forms of musical entertainment.