Links & Suggested Reading
Compiled by John Kenrick
This ad for the Follies of 1911 appeared in the program for The Pink Lady (1911), a hit musical produced by Ziegfeld's sometime partners, Klaw and Erlanger. You can click on this thumbnail photo to see the full size image.
For more on Ziegfeld & his place in musical theater history, see Musicals101.com's essay on the 1910s on Broadway.
To learn about Funny Girl vs. history, go to Musicals101.com's Funny Girl Debunked.
Baral, Robert. Revue: A Nostalgic Reprise of the Great Broadway Period. New York: Fleet Publishing Company, 1962. A veteran Variety columnist spent ten years compiling this well-researched and nostalgic look back at the classic Broadway revues. Affectionate, lavishly illustrated, and a fine read.
Bordman, Gerald. Jerome Kern: His Life and Music. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980. The definitive resource on Kern and his work it is all here, a magnificent example of research. Includes extensive coverage of Show Boat.
Brideson, Cynthia & Sara. Ziegfeld and His Follies: A Biography of Broadway's Greatest Producer. Lexington: Univ of Kentucky Press. 2015. A superb and detailed biography. While it is gratifying that the authors frequently reference this website, it would be even niver if they had bothered to spell my name correctly--and they list it dozens of times.
Burke, Billie. With a Feather On My Nose. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1948. From wife of Ziegfeld to playing Glinda in MGM's Wizard of Oz, Burke recalls her fascinating life in this enjoyable memoir. Lots of fun anecdotes, particularly about Ziegfeld's habits and lifestyle.
Carter, Randolph. The World of Flo Ziegfeld. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974. Although Carter has a tendency to accept myth as fact, this is a quick, enjoyable overview of the Ziegfeld legend.
Davis, Lee. Scandals and Follies: The Rise and Fall of the Great Broadway Revue. New York: Limelight Editions, 2000. An entertaining overview of the history of American variety stage entertainment, focusing on the legendary Broadway revues of the early 20th Century. Includes extensive coverage of Ziegfeld and his contemporaries.
Fordin, Hugh. Getting To Know Him: Oscar Hammerstein II. New York: Ungar Publishing Company, 1977. Sensitive and superb, the definitive biography of a gentle giant. One of the best theatrical biographies ever. Covers Show Boat and Ziegfeld's role in its development.
Farnsworth, Marjorie. The Ziegfeld Follies: A History in Pictures and Text. New York: Bonanza Books, 1956. An affectionate look back at the Follies, with an assist from many series alumni. Not factually flawless, but tremendous fun.
Glenn, Susan A. Female Spectacle: The Theatrical Roots of Modern Feminism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000. A insightful, clearly written academic look at how theatre helped redefine the role of women in American society. Includes extensive discussion of Ziegfeld and the Follies.
Golden, Eve. Anna Held and The Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway. Louisville, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2000. A readable and well-researched biography that debunks myths and gives a fresh look at the way Ziegfeld's theatrical career took off. A well-deserved tribute to the historically underrated Held.
Goldman, Howard. Fanny Brice: The Original Funny Girl. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. A well researched and refreshingly readable biography of the woman who inspired Funny Girl ' proof that truth can be far more fun than fiction. Great insights into the show business world of the early 20th Century. The appendix includes Fanny's detailed performance catalog.
Higham, Charles. Ziegfeld. Henry Regnery Co., Chicago. 1972. Easily the most readable Ziegfeld biography to date. Debunks some myths, but perpetuates a few too. Higham tries to give some sense of this complex character's personality.
Kruger, Miles. Show Boat: The Story of a Classic American Musical. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977. A landmark in the field of musical theater research. Kruger gives a detailed look at how Ziegfeld's greatest production came to be, and how the show has evolved over the years. A theater scholar's dream come true.
Mizejewski, Linda. Ziegfeld Girl: Image and Icon in Culture and Cinema. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999. An academic approach with refreshingly readable text make this an enjoyable and insightful examination of how the Ziegfeld legacy spread through the pop culture of the 20th Century.
Smith, Eric Lelell. Bert Williams. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 1992. A scholarly bio of the groundbreaking black comic, from variety to Broadway and beyond.
Wodehouse, P.G and Guy Bolton. Bring On the Girls. New York: Simon & Shuster, 1953. Two of the most successful librettists of Broadway's golden age share reminiscences and anecdotes. More a pleasant hodgepodge than a formal autobiography, Ziegfeld makes several appearances.
Ziegfeld, Patricia. The Ziegfeld's Girl: Confessions of an Abnormally Happy Childhood. Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Company, 1963. The only child of Ziegfeld and Billie Burke takes a sometimes candid but clearly affectionate look back at life with her celebrated parents. She buys into some of Ziegfeld's most questionable legends and gets some facts out of proper order, but her first hand recollections (including some truly hilarious family conversations) make this fun reading.
Ziegfeld, Richard and Paulette. The Ziegfeld Touch: The Life and Times of Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1993. Cousins of "the great glorifier" put together this exhaustive and long overdue compendium of photos and data. While covering the major points of his private life, they concentrate on his 83 productions, with cast lists, plots and hundreds of photos. Unlike most oversized "coffee table" books, this is a serious bit of scholarship and an archival treasure chest.