Making Show Business History Entertaining
"Ebullient and optimistically cockeyed!"
- Oscar Hammerstein III, author of The Hammersteins
- Creator of Musicals101.com
- Adjunct Faculty - New York University, Steinhardt School
- Adjunct Faculty - The New School University, NYC
- Lecturer - The Center for Adult Enrichment, Hewlett NY
Through his dynamic multimedia talks, insightful books and this popular website, John Kenrick combines a passion for entertainment history with the practical know-how earned working on stage productions at every level from amateur to Broadway. He pulls back the curtain and introduces audiences and students to the fascinating people behind show business legends with a fresh and often irreverent sense of humor that makes the past accessible and fascinating. What motivates him?
"I think show business history is the most fascinating subject in the world. My goal is simple: to make it as entertaining and exciting for others as it is for me."
John gives talks on theatre and film history, has appeared in numerous documentaries, and is the author of Musicals101.com, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amateur Theatricals, and the textbook Musical Theatre: A History. His recent college courses at NYU and the New School University have included the History of Musical Theatre, Great Broadway Songwriters, and Rodgers & Hammerstein. He has also offered courses on Hollywood Legends, The History of Screen Musicals, and The Golden Age of MGM, among others. John has also lectured at Marymount Manhattan, Pace University and The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
These comments from actual course evaluation forms give you an idea of how John's students feel about him:
"He didn't just make me laugh -- he made me care."
"Encouraging, passionate and engaging."
"I never liked history before, but this turned out to be the most enjoyable course I've taken in any subject."
"So honest; he's downright brave! John reminded me why I fell in love with musicals."
"As much as John cares about this material, he cares even more about us. I will never forget that."
"John Kenrick ROCKS!"
John's teaching is rooted in years of professional theatrical experience. He was personal assistant to six Tony-winning producers, working on such productions as the Pulitzer Prize-winning hit Rent and the first revival of Grease. He also assisted in the management of numerous national tours, including Damn Yankees with Jerry Lewis, Crazy for You, Victor/Victoria, Jekyll & Hyde and Busker Alley.
John was lyricist for the short-lived but acclaimed Off-Broadway production Bats, wrote and produced cabaret shows that appeared at The Duplex and The Five Oaks, and provided special material for performers at Caroline's, Eighty-Eights, Don't Tell Mama and other top New York clubs. He was Associate Producer for the Celebration '86 Gay Arts Festival, and worked in various capacities for The Glines, The Vineyard Theatre, PACE Theatrical, NAMCO, The Booking Office and The New York Theatre Workshop.
Making Show Biz History Entertaining
As an internationally recognized expert on musical theater and film history, John has been interviewed by A&E's Biography, BBC TV and Radio, British TV4, The Discovery Travel Channel, The SyFy Channel, The London Observer, National Public Radio, Newsday, The Dallas Daily News and the Chicago Sun Times, among others. He appeared in the popular PBS documentary Hollywood Singing & Dancing, and can be seen on the DVD editions of The Busby Berkeley Collection (42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933 & 1935, Footlight Parade, Dames) and the classic MGM musicals Three Little Words, Till the Clouds Roll By and It's Always Fair Weather. He has also appeared in documentaries discussing classic showtunes, Jerry Herman, Buddy Ebsen, Times Square, haunted theatres, and the history of burlesque.
John's speaking schedule has run the gamut from luxury liners to the NYC Fringe Festival. He offered a three year series of "Musical Conversations" at Manhattan's York Theatre, and has been presenting "Theater Chats" at The Sutton Place Synagogue since 2006. He has appeared at The Classic Stage Company, New York's Jewish Museum, The 92nd Street Y, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Museum of the City of New York, the Queensborough NY Library system, and public libraries in Poughkeepsie, Oceanside and Lawrence NY
Aside from John's aforementioned books, his article "Theatre in New York: A Brief History" appears in the textbook Theatre Law: Cases and Materials (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2004). When John saw that the internet a needed a reliable educational resource celebrating the history of stage and screen musicals, Musicals101.com was born. Since its inception in 1996, this website has grown to over six hundred pages of text and currently attracts more than fifteen thousand visitors each month. Here is what some educators and web experts have said about Musicals101.com:
"Indisputably, the Bible of the North-American musicals." - Diogene (France)
"A reliable educational resource." - Internet Collegiate Reference Collection (icrc.bloomu.edu)
"A lovingly crafted resource." - Internet Public Library
"Highly Recommended" - New York Public Library, Internet Resource Guide
"A complete musical theater education." - ResultsAbout.com
"A very comprehensive and excellent site." - School Librarian's Workshop
John welcomes questions, and responds personally to hundreds of email inquiries every year, assisting journalists, theatre professionals, and students alike. To book John for a talk that your group will be sure to enjoy, drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.