Making show biz history entertaining
- Creator of Musicals101.com
- Adjunct Faculty - Steinhardt School, NYU
- Adjunct Faculty - The New School, NYC
An internationally recognized authority on the history of
musical theatre and film, author-lecturer John Kenrick combines his
passion for entertainment history with the practical know-how earned working
on stage productions at every level from amateur to Broadway. Dispensing with
dry academic conventions, he re-examines the stories of people and
landmark events with a fresh and often irreverent sense of humor
that makes the past accessible and fascinating. Although
never afraid to share his frank opinions, he actively encourages and
welcomes opposing viewpoints.
Aside from his college courses, he gives talks on theatre and film for various adult education
groups, 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.
Currently living in the Hudson Valley just north of New York City, he
commutes thousands of miles every year, giving hundreds of classes and
public talks to groups of all ages. What motivates him? John puts it this way:
"I think show biz 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's recent college courses include 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. Along with
his current work at NYU and The New School, John has also taught at
Marymount Manhattan and The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Some comments
from actual course evaluation forms may give you some idea of how John's students
feel about him:
"He didn't just make me laugh -- he made me
"Encouraging, passionate and
"John reminded me why I fell in love with this
"I never liked history before, but this
turned out to be the most enjoyable course I've taken in any
"So honest; he's downright brave!"
"As much as John cares about this
material, he cares even more about us. I will never forget that."
"John Kenrick ROCKS!"
Kenrick with musical theatre legend Carol Channing.
John's academic efforts are rooted in years of professional
theatrical experience. Through the 1980s and 90s, John enjoyed an extensive career in
theatrical production and management. He was personal assistant to six Tony-winning
producers, working on such productions as the first revival of Grease
and the Pulitzer Prize-winning hit Rent. He also assisted in the production
and management of numerous national tours, including Damn Yankees with Jerry
Lewis, Crazy for You, Victor/Victoria, Jekyll & Hyde,
the short-lived drama My Thing of Love and Tommy Tune's ill-fated musical
John provided lyrics 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
Kenrick recreated the legendary "Ziegfeld walk" for filmmaker Lindalee
Tracey in the Canadian documentary Anatomy of Burlesque.
As an expert on musical theater history, John has been interviewed
by PBS, 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 has appeared in documentaries
discussing showtunes, Jerry Herman, Times Square, haunted theatres, and the history
of burlesque. He can be seen in the DVD documentaries for
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 also appeared in the popular PBS documentary
Hollywood Singing and Dancing.
John's classes and multimedia talks include PowerPoint
slide shows and rare video clips, and reflect a lifetime of dedicated
research into the lives and events he discusses. His speaking schedule
has run the gamut from luxury liners to Pace University to the NYC Fringe Festival.
He offered a three year series of "Musical Conversations" at
Manhattan's York Theatre, and is currently in the sixth year of an ongoing
series of "Theater Chats" at the Sutton Place Synagogue. He has appeared at
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 the
Poughkeepsie Public Library. One eminent colleague describes John as:
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 non commercial, 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
"Painstakingly crafted by a theater professional."
- Mary Washington College Libraries, VI
"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
inquires every year, assisting
journalists, theatre professionals, and students alike.
You can reach John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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