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Ziegfeld and His Follies: A Biography of Broadway’s Greatest Producer

by Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson

Not Yet Publishedpaperback$30.00 978-0-8131-7502-7
Availablecloth$40.00 978-0-8131-6088-7
Availableepub$40.00 978-0-8131-6089-4
Availableweb pdf$40.00 978-0-8131-6090-0
Screen Classics
576 pages  Pubdate:   6 x 9  76 b&w photos

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The name Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. (1867–1932) is synonymous with the decadent revues that the legendary impresario produced at the turn of the twentieth century. These extravagant performances were filled with catchy tunes, high-kicking chorus girls, striking costumes, and talented stars such as Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Marilyn Miller, W. C. Fields, and Will Rogers. After the success of his Follies, Ziegfeld revolutionized theater performance with the musical Show Boat (1927) and continued making Broadway hits—including Sally (1920), Rio Rita (1927), and The Three Musketeers (1928)—several of which were adapted for the silver screen.

In this definitive biography, authors Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson offer a comprehensive look at both the life and legacy of the famous producer. Drawing on a wide range of sources—including Ziegfield’s previously unpublished letters to his second wife, Billie Burke (who later played Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz), and to his daughter Patricia—the Bridesons shed new light on this enigmatic man. They provide a lively and well-rounded account of Ziegfeld as a father, a husband, a son, a friend, a lover, and an alternately ruthless and benevolent employer. Lavishly illustrated with over seventy-five images, this meticulously researched book presents an intimate and in-depth portrait of a figure who profoundly changed American entertainment.

Cynthia Brideson is coauthor of Also Starring . . . : Forty Biographical Essays on the Greatest Character Actors of Hollywood’s Golden Era, 1930–1965.

Sara Brideson is coauthor of Also Starring . . . : Forty Biographical Essays on the Greatest Character Actors of Hollywood’s Golden Era, 1930–1965.

Ziegfeld was one of the most important theatrical producers of the early twentieth century, and the Follies (and its Girls) are still remembered today. He had a long-lasting effect not only on Broadway, but on social mores, and this book does a great job over covering that, in a fascinating way. The Bridesons know their stuff. -- Eve Golden, author of Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway

The authors have created a detailed, sweeping narrative of Broadway showman and entrepreneur Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., both as to his professional rise and fall and the full details of his complex, busy personal life. While there have been books devoted to him before, this new account is quite compelling both in scope and detail, and will certainly be the new definitive biography of the opulent life and times of the great Ziegfeld. -- James Robert Parish, author of The Hollywood Book of Extravagance: The Totally Infamous, Mostly Disastrous, and Always Compelling Excesses of America's Film and TV Idols

Well written and entertaining, this title gives Ziegfeld his due. -- Library Journal

For those with an interest in theatrical history, the new book will recommend itself as the first detailed biography of Ziegfeld in four decades. -- Washington Post

Through meticulous research, the authors reveal the fascinating and often contradictory layers that made up this enigmatic man and defined his glamorous times. -- Library Journal

Ziegfeld and His Follies is the best biography of Ziegfeld. It goes beyond him as an institution and explores the person of Ziegfeld. -- Washington Book Review

Ziegfeld’s innovation lay in his ability to spot unheralded talent and corral it into gala evenings, in an apotheosis of Americans’ love of youth and fun. Ziegfeld turned pretty into beauty and goofy into wit. . . As sisters Cynthia and Sara Brideson observe in Ziegfeld and His Follies, he “gave women an indomitable presence in a male-centric era. . . . Even his mistresses were fiery and volatile.” . . . The Bridesons have clearly done a great deal of research, and they successfully unveil what can be known of Ziegfeld’s personality. Enigmatic and secretive, he sank his identity into his work, leaving little for the analyst to examine. -- Wall Street Journal

There is much to enjoy in the Bridesons' book, including 76 photographs -- some of the rare, all of them evocative. -- Washington Post

[T]he most encompassing book about [Ziegfeld], if not the most engrossing. -- Bay Area Reporter

The Bridesons have clearly done a great deal of research, and they successfully unveil what can be known of Ziegfeld’s personality. Enigmatic and secretive, he sank his
identity into his work, leaving little for the analyst to examine. -- Ethan Mordden -- Wall Street Journal

[T]heater-loving sisters Cynthia and Sara Brideson shine fresh and stimulating light on the genius of one of Broadway’s greatest impresarios. Rich in research and broad in perspective, the Bridesons’ book frames the classic revue era of the New York stage with a reverential but honest approach to Florenz Ziegfeld’s extraordinary personality and career. -- Examiner.com

The Bridesons’ is the first scholarly [book], offering to theater historians a responsibly documented narrative of a highly influential Broadway producer.

[A] useful tool for scholars of theater history. -- Cercles