1. Our show on Industrial Musicals caught many listeners by surprise. Comments and tweets poured in about these catchy Broadway numbers about bathroom fixtures, tractors, and air conditioners that were written to inspire salespeople at company conventions.  Hear it for yourself in an interview with “Industrials” writer Sheldon Harnick, actor-singer John Russell, and author (Everything’s Coming Up Profits) Steve Young:

Steve Young: There was the belief for quite a long time, I don’t know if there was ever hard data to back it up, but if you bring everyone together for this thrilling theatrical experience — and it often actually was thrilling to the audience — then they’d have a sense of purpose, they would get out there, they would charge ahead and have a renewed energy for selling.



Many of the songs were packed with information about details of the new products, or the marketing strategies that were being presented. So you’d go home, ideally, all fired up, with a new sense of your pride in working for the company and a way forward for what you were going to do as a sales person.
View in High-Res

    Our show on Industrial Musicals caught many listeners by surprise. Comments and tweets poured in about these catchy Broadway numbers about bathroom fixtures, tractors, and air conditioners that were written to inspire salespeople at company conventions.  Hear it for yourself in an interview with “Industrials” writer Sheldon Harnick, actor-singer John Russell, and author (Everything’s Coming Up Profits) Steve Young:

    Steve Young: There was the belief for quite a long time, I don’t know if there was ever hard data to back it up, but if you bring everyone together for this thrilling theatrical experience — and it often actually was thrilling to the audience — then they’d have a sense of purpose, they would get out there, they would charge ahead and have a renewed energy for selling.

    Many of the songs were packed with information about details of the new products, or the marketing strategies that were being presented. So you’d go home, ideally, all fired up, with a new sense of your pride in working for the company and a way forward for what you were going to do as a sales person.

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  1. Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim speaking to Terry Gross in 2010:

I’m interested in the theater because I’m interested in communication with audiences, otherwise I would be in concert music. I’d be in another kind of profession. I love the theater as much as music, and the whole idea of getting across to an audience and making them laugh, making them cry — just making them feel — is paramount to me.




image of the Stephen Sondheim theater in NYC via VIP tickets View in High-Res

    Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim speaking to Terry Gross in 2010:

    I’m interested in the theater because I’m interested in communication with audiences, otherwise I would be in concert music. I’d be in another kind of profession. I love the theater as much as music, and the whole idea of getting across to an audience and making them laugh, making them cry — just making them feel — is paramount to me.

    image of the Stephen Sondheim theater in NYC via VIP tickets

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  1. Tomorrow’s Fresh Air is about the golden age of industrial musicals, when full Broadway style musicals were written for corporate conventions. As in, yes, Broadway-style ballads about bathroom tiles, tractors, air conditioners, and plant fertilizer etc.
 Steve Young first came across these absurd records when he was choosing records for the reoccurring segment “Dave’s Record Collection" for David Letterman. When he couldn’t get the songs out of his head he decided to learn more about them. His book, “Everything’s Coming Up Profits" is about the history of these "Industrials." 

Musical writer Sheldon Harnick and Industrials performer John Russell join Young tomorrow to look back on this hilarious songs. 




image via anjou

    Tomorrow’s Fresh Air is about the golden age of industrial musicals, when full Broadway style musicals were written for corporate conventions. As in, yes, Broadway-style ballads about bathroom tiles, tractors, air conditioners, and plant fertilizer etc.

    Steve Young first came across these absurd records when he was choosing records for the reoccurring segment “Dave’s Record Collection" for David Letterman. When he couldn’t get the songs out of his head he decided to learn more about them. His book, “Everything’s Coming Up Profits" is about the history of these "Industrials."

    Musical writer Sheldon Harnick and Industrials performer John Russell join Young tomorrow to look back on this hilarious songs.

    image via anjou

  2. fresh air

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  1. Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, in case you don’t know them, are not only tuneful and hilarious, they’re also very touching and truly literate. Just watch that video and tell me you weren’t brought to tears.

    Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews two new DVD releases — The Mikado and Topsy-Turvy — on today’s Fresh Air that are indispensable to Gilbert and Sullivan aficionados. INDISPENSABLE I SAY!

    Now sing along with me:

    I am the very model of a modern Major-General,

    I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral,

    I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical

    From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;

    I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,

    I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,

    About binomial theorem I’m teeming with a lot o’ news,

    With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

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