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Disgrifiad

In 1928, Robeson took Britain's audiences by storm, as plantation slave Joe, in the Drury Lane premiere of Showboat.
Showboat was revolutionary. It abandoned the light-hearted musical comedy tradition to tell the story of American history. Instead it featured a Black and white cast singing in harmony, and explored the themes of inter-racial marriage, alcoholism, desertion and poverty.
Showboat's show-stopping anthem, Ol' Man River, about the Mississippi River was written by Oscar Hammerstein II especially for Paul Robeson. It is a song that has become associated forever with Robeson's moving and charismatic voice.
Challenging as the play's themes were, Robeson altered some of the lyrics later on:
"Tote that barge and lift that bale,
Git a little drunk and ya lands in jail,
I git weary and sick of tryin'
I'm tired of livin' and scared of dyin'."
became
"Tote that barge and lift that bale,
You show some grit an' you lands in jail.
I must keep laughin' instead of cryin';
I must keep fightin' until I'm dyin'."

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