Mormons, Puppets and Pooh

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Friday, December 02, 2011

Tony winning composer Robert Lopez crafted the music of the hit Broadway musicals "Avenue Q" and "The Book of Mormon." Today: Lopez talks about those productions and his latest project, a new "Winnie the Pooh" film. And, Lopez plays live. Plus: the story of a most extreme style - the zoot suit.

This is a repeat edition of Soundcheck.

Extremely Stylish: The Zoot Suit

Before the bellbottom, before skinny jeans -- there was the zoot suit. Born in the 1930s, the suit’s extreme silhouette, known as the “drape shape,” swept across the nation, from dance clubs in Harlem to the streets of Los Angeles -- where it lent its name to an infamous wave of violence in the summer of 1943. Historian Kathy Peiss joins us for the story behind the “killer-diller" coat that graced the backs of Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, and many others.

In the Walt Disney Cartoon "Spirit of '43,' which encouraged Americans to support the war effort, a zoot suiter is portrayed as a turncoat. Watch the video below.


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In Studio: Robert Lopez

Songwriter Robert Lopez won his first Tony Awards in 2004 for his hilariously irreverent "Avenue Q" score. He followed up his raunchy puppet work with the music for yet another Broadway smash hit – "The Book of Mormon." Lopez takes a seat at the piano in the Soundcheck studio to talk about his missionary-centered musical collaboration with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.


Gig Alert: Nancy Harms

Jazz songstress Nancy Harms performs at Shrine in Harlem on Friday night. Download her version of the jazz standard "Bye Bye Blackbird" here. 


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