On the third day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.
Tonight I think I shall watch Show Boat in honor of its 84th anniversary.
Originally produced by Flo Zeigfeld in New York on Dec. 27, 1927, it was based on Edna Ferber's 1926 novel. The musical is in two acts with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.
The plot chronicles the lives of those living and working on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat, from 1880 to 1927, and its dominant themes include racial prejudice and tragic, enduring love.
Show Boat boldly portrayed racial issues, and was the first racially integrated musical. It was the first Broadway musical to seriously depict an interracial marriage, as in Ferber's original novel, and to feature a character of mixed race who was "passing" for white.
For a great read about life upon a showboat I highly recommend Rosamond du Jardin's malt shop book, Showboat Summer:
A summer vacation aboard the Harwood College Showboat was an exciting prospect for Pam and Penny, the twins of Double Feature. To Penny, it meant being with Mike who had a job on the tugboat that pushed the old Regina from town to town along the Ohio River. To Pam it meant a chance to act, and perhaps a leading role in one of the gala showboat performances.