What is “The Black Crook?”
In September 12, 1866, a New York theater by the name of Niblo’s Garden gave birth to the premiere of The Black Crook. This was an ambitious idea which was set on bringing European novelty acts to the United States.
This highly innovative, thespian, and even romantic songs in this musical are what make it famous. “You Naughty, Naughty Men”, a thrillingly dramatic song about the evils of bad men against women, is one of the iconic pieces of the musical.
Other iconic pieces consist of Act II’s “Pas de Demons”, and Act I’s March of the Amazons. Though it is quite difficult to access these pieces to listen to today, they still hold the title of being what set the stage for the modern future of American theatre.
It contributed to theatre in general by being the first for Broadway opening the door for new cultures, abstract ideas, and even minorities at the time of discrimination in multiple fronts to contribute to displays of art whether it be music or acting.
Though opinions on The Black Crook were mixed, particularly on how the dancing and costumes were shown, it was highly successful arguably because of this hot criticism and debate the musical.
This work has modernized the meaning of a musical indeed, but many were perplexed, impressed, or perhaps even disgusted by its foreign European elements, its seemingly short and revealing clothes, and its grandiose effects added onto the story. This uniqueness has gave The Black Crook a special place in the history. This uniqueness has gave The Black Crook a special place in the history of American theatre that needs to be recognized.