MillerComm Lecture Series

À la recherche du Trolley Song

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018
Stephen Banfield

Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum
600 South Gregory

Event Description

As sung by Judy Garland in the MGM film Meet Me in St Louis (1944), “The Trolley Song” is one of the world’s best-loved production numbers, yet close reading and documentary study are still surprisingly rare where numbers in Hollywood musicals are concerned, and this one is no exception to that general state of affairs. Sources there are, and these will be reviewed. Why, however, should we wish to recover them when the finished artifact is there in front of us on the small or large screen, available to be watched nowadays at the push of a button? To be sure, applying documentary research methodologies can reveal hidden meaning and transform understanding, but with this film and this number in particular the process almost inevitably begins to memorialize loss. In what ways, then, do the song and its routine represent temps perdu?

Hosted by: School of Music

In conjunction with: Department of Dance, Department of English, Department of Gender & Women’s Studies, Department of History, Department of Media & Cinema Studies, Department of Theatre, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Music and Performing Arts Library, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, Spurlock Museum, Unit for Criticism & Interpretive Theory, University of Illinois Press

Stephen Banfield

Emeritus Professor of Music, University Bristol (UK)