It was the decade that brought us disco balls, go-go boots, macramé, the invention of Post-Its, and the very first Apple Computer. It was the decade that brought our troops home from Vietnam and brought on government distrust in the wake of Watergate. But the 1970s also brought us something more: some of the greatest – and most eclectic—music ever recorded.
This Season, we’re celebrating that music in The ‘70s: More Than A Decade with hits by such artists as The Bee Gees, Marvin Gaye, ABBA, Carole King, and The Who.
“The music of the 1970s really speaks to the emotional anchors that exist within our audience today,” said Richard Hopkins, one of the show’s developers. “It also creates a nice continuation, building off of past shows we’ve done, like The Wonder Years and Light My Fire, and takes audiences on a journey.”
Once the Cabaret Development team started piecing together possible song lists for the show, it didn’t take long for them to realize just how vast the music of the ’70s was.
“The music was truly reflective of how pivotal the decade was,” said Lead Developer Rebecca Hopkins. “In many ways the ’70s were a continuation of the ’60s. Social Justice movements were getting hotter by the day, Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, they were all gaining momentum. We were still in Vietnam. Then the war finally ended. By the mid-seventies things started to shift. There were new problems with inflation, crime, and an energy crisis. People started to turn inward. They were tired of political in-fighting. The music reflected that. There was a sense of escapism in a lot of the songs.”
So which songs were ultimately selected to help tell the story of this funky, far-out time?
“You’ll hear songs like ‘Listen To The Music’ by The Doobie Brothers, ‘Joy To The World,’ by Three Dog Night, and ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by The Bee Gees,” added Hopkins. “The music of the ‘70s goes far past disco. We wanted to showcase the breadth of musical artistry that was happening during this time. The musical vastness of the ’70s was one of the distinct challenges we faced when developing this newest Cabaret.”
Since the show first opened last month, audiences have been calling it “Absolutely fabulous,” “The best,” and “Outstanding.”
Some familiar faces and voices bring this ’70s hit parade to life. FST audiences will remember Jannie Jones (Guitar Girls, Blue Suede Shoes). Michael James Bryne returns after his performance in The Wanderers, and Eddie Weaver is back after previous roles in Cinderella and as an understudy in The Wanderers. Brianna Barnes rounds out the quartet in her FST debut. And in the Director’s chair is Catherine Randazzo.
While the music of the 1970s was expansive in both style and sound, the songs featured in this show all have one thing in common. They all emerged from a time that was marked by themes audiences may find familiar today.
“The parallels between the ‘70s and today are interesting,” said Richard Hopkins. “A lot was going on historically. Music, and disco in particular, became an escape from all of that seriousness.”
And one can’t help but feel that escape – feel your troubles melt away—when hearing such lyrics as “Teach Your Children Well,” “Love Will Keep Us Together,” “Let it Be,” and of course, “I Will Survive.”
The ’70s: More Than A Decade plays in FST’s Court Cabaret through February 12, 2023. For tickets and more information, click here.