Okay, George M. Cohan wasn’t born on the 4th of July, but close enough, and he didn’t singlehandedly invent the Broadway Musical, but close enough to call today
NATIONAL YANKEE DOODLE DANDY DAY!
Born a showman to a family of show people in Providence, Rhode Island on July 3, 1878, George M. Cohan was performing by age 8, both as a violinist and dancer before playing the lead role in the touring company of the show “Peck’s Bad Boy,” after which he joined his parents and sister in the family act, The Four Cohans.
By the time he was a teenager, he was the lead performer and writing skits and songs for their shows. They were a popular touring attraction for 11 years before making it to New York City on the strength of George’s many talents.
His first Broadway show produced the immortal songs “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “Yankee Doodle Boy.” He went on to dominate both Broadway and Tin Pan Alley for the next 2 decades, as an entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer, and rightfully called “The Man Who Owns Broadway.” He probably knew how to work the props and footlights too.
Cohan created more than 50 musicals, plays and revues, and published over 300 songs, supplying the world with stories and songs that are still performed today.
It’s a Grand Old Flag. Just ask the Yankee Doodle Dandy himself, George M. Cohan, born on the 3rd of July.
•Suggested Activities: Leave them laughing when you say goodbye.