Or could you call it dancing? They kind of just floated while men in tuxedos lead them around elaborate sets. Then once they were off stage they battled about how high their salaries were. Best job ever? I THINK SO. Florenz Ziegfeld regularly put on shows with extravagant numbers and chorus girls during the early 20th century. They've since been the subject of many films, novels and musicals.
I have so many favourite Ziegfeld scenes; Ann Miller "Shakin' The Blues Away" from Easter Parade, Barbra Striesand "My Man" from Funny Girl, and basically all the numbers in Ziegfeld Girl (1941) starring Judy Garland, Lana Turner and glamour queen starlet Hedy Lamarr (badass scientist and mathematician on the side).
dis here crown what I be talkin' 'bout.
The vintage pictures of follies showgirls are dramatic, flamboyant and all around fabulous. They're either drenched in feathers or draped in barely there chiffon sitting on (quite literally) a paper moon sailing over a cardboard sea (if you got that reference why are you not at my house singing close part harmonies with me?).
It's set an unrealistic aesthetic goal for all variety theatre I ever do. I'm pretty sure that if there's a heaven above then it looks like this.
Florenz Ziegfeld was also married to Billie Burke (GLINDA FREAKIN GOOD WITCH OF THE NORTH) which adds to his general appeal, and he is also amazingly portrayed by Walter Pidgeon which leads me onto my next subject which is the William Wyler/Barbra Streisand masterpiece that is Funny Girl (1968).
It's the incredible story of real life Follies comedienne, Fanny Brice who came from a Jewish family in New York and nagged her way with her unmatchable talent into the Ziegfeld Follies. Who better to play her than Barbra Streisand? I have no words for this film. Flawless. Can't even go there.
Then you have another musical about the Follies that I love, entitled (imaginatively) "Follies". It's a Stephen Sondheim musical and includes some fabulous songs. I watched the filmed concert version starring Lee Remick, Barbara Cook and Mandy Petinkin. Barbara Cook singing "Losing My Mind" is just wow. Watch.
And last but not least is Easter Parade. One of my favourites with Judy Garland, Fred Astaire and Ann Miller. The general backstage kimono wearing is definitely to be applauded.
Also Ann Miller's fantastic "Shakin' The Blues Away" number which she performed in a back brace after her husband threw her down the stairs.
Anyway, I hope I may have inspired you to go watch some Ziegfeld movies or just look at pictures. They're incredible.