The early 20thC saw the growth of Broadway as the focus for New York musical theatre. Tin Pan Alley was the centre for music publishing, and Josh Rosenberg would have been working alongside songwriters such as Gus Edwards and George M. Cohan, learning how to adapt songs to the constraints of a theatre and an enjoyable plot. Ragtime and jazz were the original styles of musical comedy, and the most successful shows were hits in London as well as on Broadway. It was not uncommon for a musical to be written to showcase the talents of a particular star, and Clara’s special relationship with Josh and with Charles Ravenswood would have helped to establish her reputation and career. However, many women remained in the chorus line, wearing revealing costumes in the Vaudeville tradition, and without a respectable career.
© Annie Thomas 2013