History books can only tell us so much: the facts, the figures and the hard data of a time period. A fictional story like MAMMA MIA! can help us learn how people felt during a period of time.
MAMMA MIA! really takes place during TWO time periods: the present day and the era of the 1970s, when Donna met Sam, Harry and Bill and sang with “Donna and the Dominos.” The 1970s was a time of extraordinary change, a pivotal era in American and world history. Events of the decade changed how we saw our leaders, our place in the world, and ourselves. The war in Vietnam led to large scale protests and distrust in government and authority, which was only compounded by the allegations of corruption at the highest levels in the Watergate scandal. Inflation and high unemployment ravaged the economy, while an energy crisis caused long lines at the gas stations.
Many turned away from the government and looked to themselves for change. During the 1960s, environmentalists such as Rachel Carson had warned against the dangers of pollution; the 1970s saw the beginning of the environmental movement: a concentrated, public-driven desire to conserve and protect our world. With the fiftieth anniversary of Female Suffrage (the right to vote) in the United States, the 1970s also saw the growth of the feminist movement to gain equal rights for women in all parts of life. The proportion of women in state legislatures tripled during the 1970s, and by 1979, women surpassed men in college enrollment.
Along with social strides, the 1970s saw advances in science. The development of semiconductor silicon chips revolutionized the electronics industry; handheld calculators, digital watches, and video games like Pong and Pac Man became commonplace.
The nuclear family (a family unit consisting of one father, one mother, and children), which had been so strong during the 1940s and 1950s, began to lose its importance during the 1970s. Divorce rates were on the rise and women began to believe that they could raise children on their own.
Since World War II, the United States had been in the forefront of political, economic, and social history. Now we were losing ground, and there was a sense – a nameless fear – that something was going wrong. In the 1970s, we saw our limits.
But through it all, satirical television shows like “All in the Family” and “Saturday Night Live” made fun of these changes, never letting us take ourselves too seriously!
May 27th, 2010
San Jose and San Francisco – 50 miles apart. An hour on the Caltrain bullet, and if you’re lucky an hour by car. I prefer the 280 route – but sometimes nothing beats the steadiness of the 101. In between, it seems, is an endless array of towns, cities and suburbs dotted by glimpses of the water. San Jose and San Francisco, so close and yet worlds apart. San Francisco is the hub of travel and tourism for Northern California while San Jose has become the center of technology, the capital of the Silicon Valley. We thrive on new technology and we adopt it as early as possible. In San Francisco and San Jose we root for the same teams and while our favorites may be somewhat divided between Oakland Teams and San Francisco Teams – we all LOVE the SAN JOSE SHARKS! But when it comes to the arts, it can be a puzzling divide. In both San Jose and San Francisco, you’ll find the offbeat and eclectic collection of theatre, music, dance and the visual arts. In both San Jose and San Francisco, you’ll find the more traditional assortment of theatre, music, dance and the visual arts. In San Jose we have the Tech Museum and in San Francisco they have the Exploratorium. In San Jose we have San Jose Repertory Theatre and in San Francisco they have A.C.T. In San Francisco they have SHN for touring Broadway presentations and touring Broadway shows come to San Jose through Broadway San Jose a Nederlander Presentation. It seems to have begged the question – “Can you have touring Broadway in both San Jose and San Francisco?” Well, unequivocally the answer is YES! Are we really in competition with each other? Or are we simply bringing Broadway to very different audiences? The amazing response we received from San Jose, the capital of the Silicon Valley, in our very first season speaks loud and clear and the message “KEEP BRINGING US BROADWAY CLOSER TO HOME! WE LOVE IT!” has been heard. As is typical in San Jose, we’ve been adopted us early. Our 2010-11 season has been set, we’re expanding our season from 5 shows to 7 and we’re beginning to look at the tours for 2011-12 and beyond! The Audience builds and the excitement builds, but does that mean there is a rivalry? South vs. North? Or can we all just say “WE LOVE BROADWAY!”?
About “Notes from the GM”
We here at Broadway San Jose have things to say, so we will take time to say them - to you. Notes From the GM, written by our General Manager, Ruth Pangilinan, will serve as a platform for news and information about Broadway San Jose from the very top!
The words Social and Media have been some of the most buzz worthy words of 2009 – but what do they have to do with Broadway entertainment and you, the theater goer? Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Yelp have become ubiquitous in the last few years, helping people and businesses connect - and the arts should be no different. Here at Broadway San Jose our goal is to provide the South Bay Area with the highest level of quality entertainment that is at once thought provoking and exciting, speaking to the diversity of the South Bay. We want to know what audiences think of the productions and engage with them in a frank and honest dialogue about the themes and ideas as they pertain to our community at large. Therein lies the intersection of the words social and media and how we have begun using the tools. New means of communication pop up every day and we are finding exciting ways to engage you, our patrons and fans, making it easier for you to share the unique experience of live Broadway through social media. We have recently revamped our Facebook page, allowing you to purchase tickets, (log into Facebook and search Broadway San Jose to become a fan) spruced up our Twitter page (twitter.com/broadwaysanjose) and created a Tumblr page (broadwaysanjose.tumblr.com) designed to give you a behind the scenes look at running a theater company.
But what is the Social Media buzz really about? The advent of real-time updates has traditional media a bit flustered and speaks to the growing demand for immediacy in our interactions and Broadway San Jose wants to be right there as well. To do so we have introduced what we are calling “TweetSeats.” The TweetSeat program is an exclusive opportunity for patrons to attend the opening night performance and sit in designated Orchestra-level “TweetSeats” where we are allowing patrons to Tweet during the performance to their network. If you, or someone you know is interested in participating in the TweetSeat campaign visit our Facebook page to enter/qualify to win a free seat for opening night of a specific show. Only 10 TweetSeaters will be selected. If they win, they will get tickets to the production for themselves and a guest. I urge you to log in and get involved in the conversation on and offline.