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1927 musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, based on a 1926 book. It has been filmed in 1936 and 1951.

The story starts with the Cotton Blossom, a showboat with well-known actors arriving in a town in the late 1800s. Magnolia Hawks, the daughter of the showboat's owners, falls for a wandering gambler named Gaylord Ravenal. When the lead actors of the boat are forced to leave due to racial issues at the time (Julie being biracial), Magnolia and Gaylord take over as the leads, and become an instant hit.

The musical is possibly most known for Paul Robeson's rendition of "Ol' Man River" in the 1936 version.


This work provides examples of

  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama
  • Dawson Casting: Irene Dunne was 38 in the 1936 movie, twenty years older than her character. She was eight years older than her leading man.
  • Fake Mixed Race: Julie was played in the 1936 film by the very white Helen Morgan. Likewise, the 1951 film filled the role with Ava Gardner. Has been averted, though, as there was a production with Lonette Mc Kee as Julie
  • Hidden Depths: Joe. Pretty much a lazy, teasing character, bordering on an old sterotype. But he does get the song that is often most remembered, and is the one to fetch a doctor for Magnolia when she's in labour.
  • Large Ham: Everyone on the stage, but especially the villain character.
  • Lazy Bum: Joe quite cheerfully, much to the annoyance of his hard-working wife.
  • Nice Guy: Frank. Of the three performing couples, he's the only one to stay with his partner, in spite of not being romantically linked. He also goes out of his way to help Magnolia get a job.
  • Not So Above It All: Parthy at times
  • Pass Fail: Julie is biracial
  • Scenery Porn: It's a very nice boat.
  • Show Within a Show: Anything that shows up on the stage.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Kim, born to finer things in life, is a genuinely nice person from childhood and beyond.
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