Talk:Show Boat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Good article Show Boat has been listed as one of the Media and drama good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
November 27, 2012 Good article nominee Listed
WikiProject Musical Theatre (Rated GA-class)
WikiProject icon Show Boat is part of WikiProject Musical Theatre, organized to improve and complete musical theatre articles and coverage on Wikipedia. You can edit the article attached to this page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the quality scale.
WikiProject Radio (Rated GA-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Radio, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Radio-related subjects on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.

This article has comments here.


There have been many contreversies about this movie and it's depiction of blacks etc. that I think deserve to be mentioned, but I really don't know too much about. If anyone knows more about this, can they add it?

I added a little; it isn't definitive but I'm sure other will add more.

I have tried to add extensive information about the controversy with the 1993 Toronto production (and therefore the general black reaction to the work), adding to what was originally written by Alisar. I obviously have a strong opinion in the matter (that the show is not racist), but I have tried to keep the section NPOV by providing three quotes from each side to balance each other out. Still, if anyone has any comments on the additions or think it is too POV feel free to say so. Yid613 - 20:24 (UTC) Dec. 14, 2005
The section has been expanded thoroughly with about seven defending sources, about seven critical sources, and evthree neutrally informative sources. The section has also been divided into categories. Yid613 07:41, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

There's one piece of information I think is worth adding, but I'm not sure where so I'll just note it here and allow those more familiar with this article and the controversies to place it where it fits best. Lena Horne, considered very much a role-model for African-Americans because of her work in the mostly white-only MGM musicals, not only took part in the condensed performance of Show Boat in Till the Clouds Roll By, she also lobbied for and was considered for a role in the 1951 version until the studio got cold feet and cast Ava Gardner instead. I've never seen any comments from Horne one way or the other regarding the play's content, but the very fact she willingly took part in the condensed version and tried to get into the 1951 version could be considered a positive response to the play from a reputable performer. Just thought I'd toss that out there for consideration. 23skidoo 01:55, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Hi 23skidoo. Thanks for bringing up that piece of information, it is very valuable. Since you brought it up, it figures that you should be able to add the section, if you want to. So in regards to your question about where would be appropriate, I think that the best place would be to add another section titled "1951 film version" in between what is now Revisions and Cancellations and 1994 Revival. Somewhere in the text you might want to include a wikilink to Show Boat (film)#1951 Version. Thanks. Yid613 02:43, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

The 'Integration' page is a disaster. It stinks of self-serving undergrads (pray let it not be p-gs!). Someone really better fucking change it.

NPOV Issues[edit]

The sections "1993 Revival" and "Analysis" are not neutral--it's clear that the author has a strong point of view, and is expressing it here. The first badly needs reworking; the "Analysis" section isn't really appropriate for an encyclopedia article. nmw 20:02, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

"Book" and the first sentence[edit]

The first sentence of the article was edited by someone who apparently felt that the "book" of the musical should be credited to the author of the novel on which it was based (!) - logical enough if you don't know what the "book" of a musical is. I have re-written the first sentence to be totally clear - although I fear it is now cumbersome and ugly. Better ideas welcome! Soundofmusicals (talk) 21:01, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

2008 concert[edit]

I don't know whether it's notable enough for the article, but there's a concert version due to be staged at Carnegie Hall in June '08. Article here: Some notable musical actors are in this. Annie D (talk) 00:39, 8 May 2008 (UTC)


Although Ferber used tha name "Kim" when it may been uncommon, she did not coin it. Kipling's novel "Kim" was published in 1900. The Kentucky-Illinois-Missouri derivation is a rather clever backronym. Barnaby the Scrivener (talk) 13:26, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Kim is a short form of "Kimberly", or "Kimball" - English names that were around for a good while before 1900!! As a girl's name it may largely derive its modern popularity from Ferber, however. I've amended the article accordingly, for what it's worth!! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 21:27, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

This musical is a concerted and very powerful attack on racism[edit]

Ideas that they had to "soft pedal" the criticism of racism a bit because after all it was 1927 are ridiculous - it is STILL a show to make racists, whether they are black or white, SQUIRM. This is as POV as all hell, of course, and we couldn't say this in the article itself - but I think it is a shame to have to include (for the sake of alleged balance) the people accusing it of racism, because it doesn't ignore racial issues, or pretend that they aren't there. Significantly - it is WHITE racists who are made uncomfortable about the use of the word "nigger" - this is so obviously a dig at white people for their whole racist mindset. Making Cap'n Andy black or Joe white would destroy the whole point. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 02:16, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Paul Robeson saw fit to perform in this musical - that should refute any specious accusation of racism.Barnaby the Scrivener (talk) 15:47, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

The 1993/1994 Toronto/Broadway production took off the "soft pedal" & restored original lyrics, notably "Niggers all work ...." in Ol' Man River. Anyone who heard this performance could be left in no doubt that the song was a protest song, with a lot of anger behind it. As a personal note, this was one of my grandfather's "signature" songs, and his sheet music which I have uses the "N--" word; I always perform it that way myself. Let's not rewrite history, or historical dramatic productions that represent the attitudes of the day.D A Patriarche (talk) 22:35, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

Non-Kern songs[edit]

This sentence in the opening is misleading:

Two other songs not by Kern and Hammerstein — "Goodbye, My Lady Love" by Joseph Howard and "After the Ball" by Charles K. Harris — are always interpolated into American stage productions of the show.

It suggests that these songs were later interpolations into the show, when in fact, I believe, they were included by Kern and Hammerstein to capture the period flavor and were always an integral part of the show. Isn't this right? Markhh (talk) 05:13, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Latest major rewrite!![edit]

This article is in the process of an apparently good faith but sweeping and in some cases unreferenced and/or POV rewrite - without any discussion at all - should we just revert all recent edits - and get the editor to justify the totality of changes (or at least some of the more controversial) - or has someone the time to go through the changes carefully and sort the gold (if any there be) from the dross? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 08:58, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Anonymous editor response[edit]

I am the person who began this most recent edit. I am a mild fan of musicals, not an expert in them, but I have an undergraduate degree in History and Science from Harvard and a PhD from Princeton (in Computer Science) and I know how to write a scholarly article. I started out to make a minor edit to an invalid reference, then became interested in rewriting the article because it is clunky, repetitive, and commits the cardinal sin of pretending to be authoritative when it is more like a parody of proper scholarship. Let me point to several examples:

First, from the introduction:

Show Boat is by far the most frequently revived American musical of its era, not only because of its songs, but also because its libretto, though clearly dated in comparison to those of more recent musicals, is considered to be exceptionally good for a musical of that era.[2]

It's hard to understand what the original author meant by "clearly dated". If he or she just meant that the libretto is old, this statement is pointless. Otherwise, it is a pejorative statement, implying that the musical is ridden with language, references, and assumptions so specific to the time it was written that you'll spend more time sniggering and rolling your eyes at the silly ideas people used to have, than being moved by its emotional thrust. This is not "clear" -- many, many people seem to enjoy the musical at face value -- and to back up the argument, the author must either make the case directly, which he or she doesn't, or point to a secondary, scholarly reference that does. If you read the sentence, you see a citation, so you assume "okay, I don't get that but apparently some serious people do, so I should believe it." The citation also seems to back up two factual claims: that "Show Boat" is the most frequently revived musical of its era, and that it is considered exceptionally good for a musical of that era.

Reference [2], however, points at a single primary source -- the original New York Times review by Brooks Atkinson. It's extremely unlikely that a reviewer in 1927 would say that a show written in 1927 feels dated, and Atkinson doesn't. Nor does he have much to say about the frequency of revival of "Show Boat" some 80 years later, or its future position in the musical canon. Reference [2] is dishonest and invalid, and the whole sentence should be rewritten or discarded.

Second, from the section "Language and Stereotypes:"

However, even many of those who denounce the stereotyping of blacks and black language admit that the intentions of Hammerstein were noble, since "'Ol' Man River' was the song in which he first found his lyrical voice, compressing the suffering, resignation, and anger of an entire race into 24 taut lines and doing it so naturally that it's no wonder folks assume the song's a Negro spiritual."[16]

That "many of those who denounce the stereotyping of blacks and black language admit that the intentions of Hammerstein were noble," is an unproven assertion. Who are these "many people"? The citation on this sentence points to a book review in Slate by Mark Steyn. But Steyn's article is not about racial stereotyping, it is about the evolution of American musical theater. Along the way, he mocks a professor of Ebonics for thinking that "Ol Man River" is an authentic folk spiritual, not written by Hammerstein, because it uses words like "dese" and "dose". The reference is misleading.

The example is an attempt to disguise an opinion as fact. The honest phrasing should be:

Even if "Show Boat" stereotypes blacks, Hammerstein should be forgiven, because he also wrote "Ol' Man River", which, as Mark Steyn wrote, "was the song in which he first found his lyrical voice, compressing the suffering, resignation, and anger of an entire race into 24 taut lines and doing it so naturally that it's no wonder folks assume the song's a Negro spiritual".[16]

As opinion, however, the sentence should not be in the article at all, unless is it identified by something like "One contributor to this article felt that..."

Third, from the section "Revisions and cancellations":

As attitudes toward race relations have changed, producers and directors have altered some content in an attempt to make the musical more 'politically correct': "...Show Boat, more than many musicals, was subject to cuts and revisions within a handful of years after its first performance, all of which altered the dramatic balance of the play..." [12]

By implication, the quoted blog supports the claim that the musical has been altered to make it more politically correct. This is not true -- the blog never uses the term "politically correct." The quote is taken from a paragraph discussing how hard it is to decide on what the true libretto should be.

I don't denigrate the contributors to this article, I applaud them. We all work together to make something great. Nevertheless, parts of this article are sophomoric, high school sophomoric. The rule of scholarship is simple -- if you make a factual claim, it should either be so generally accepted by other experts that a proof is superfluous, or you should prove it, by pointing to primary sources (your own research, newspaper articles, government records, etc.) or secondary references (books and so forth) that have themselves been validated by the community. If you state opinion, fine, but be honest, and don't try to dress it up with bogus citations. I worry about inexperienced high school students who read this entry and think they should trust it.

In the old-fashioned world of academia, one submits an article to a journal, and the editor sends it off to expert reviewers to check that it meets scholarly standards. Wikipedia proposes a different model: that if enough people in the world have a chance to work on an article, eventually people with passion and knowledge will step in, and it will get to be good. For whatever reason, I became interested in rewriting this article. My first edits contained some sarcastic and snarky comments. I was trying to tone everything down when some super-user stepped in and tossed it all. This is discouraging. The tab says "Edit This Page", not "Ask for Permission to Edit this Page" or "Discuss Endlessly Your Plans for This Page". You need to figure out your philosophy. It would be fun to rewrite the article, but not if faceless wiki-wardens will step in any time and arbitrarily delete a lot of hard work.

Jeff W., 2-1-2010

Please visit these links:
They will answer many of the general points you raise here, and others.
There is a lot in what you have to say - and in fact I am interested in your efforts to improve this important (and currently rather poor) article. It probably NEEDS a good rewrite.
On the other hand:
  • Your work is not sacred, and will be edited by others - even deleted if it is unsuitable. The people editing your work will vary from people who know less than nothing to people who know much more than you (and not just about the subject of the article, either!). There are no "super-editors" or "wiki-wardens" in the sense you seem to think - administrators are more concerned with breeches of courtesy and keeping out the rank vandals. Fortunately - earlier versions of every article are kept under the "history" tab so the restoration of hard work is always possible.
  • You are admitted to "the company of Wiki editors" as an equal - not because of any particular qualifications or knowledge you possess. Certainly not because you're much smarter than anyone here (even in the most unlikely event this is true).
  • You will often be challenged - if someone doesn't like agree with something you have said. You may on occasion have to justify yourself. Don't make sweeping changes without at least mentioning the fact in discussion, and where appropriate deigning to explain why text (especially when referenced) has been deleted or replaced with something that says something different.
  • Yes, I know there are a lot of questionable references in articles here - I admire you persistence in chasing some of these down!
--Soundofmusicals (talk) 18:51, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Dear Jeff, I agree with Soundofmusicals that your input contained some good points. The sources cited here should be Reliable sources and should be used correctly. It is also true that this article is not consistently written and betrays its history as a patchwork of many different contributors. It can certainly be much improved, although this would take some work and discussion among editors. Note that, while you have criticized some sources used here, you have not suggested any better sources, and you have subsituted your own Point of View for the information that you are criticizing. You need to add sources. Also, the article should not refer to itself: it must be written encyclopedically. For example addressing high school students or other readers directly is not encyclopedic - write about the topic, not the reader. Wikipedia works by WP:Consensus. I think you could easily convince me and the other editors interested in this article of the merits of what you say if you break it down into smaller chunks, and we discuss it on this page. In the meantime, I have taken an hour to try to make a few changes in the article that respond to your edits. Let's keep making improvements. We are listening, if you wish to help. All the best, -- Ssilvers (talk) 15:31, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

First production and Rio Rita[edit]

I haven't read the book by Bloom, etc, but in the notes for the 1980s EMI recording Miles Krueger states that Show Boat was never intended open the Ziegfeld Theatre and the delays in opening Show Boat had everything to do with the difficulties of writing and producing the show. Show Boat was originally intended to open at the Lyric Theatre and only moved to the Ziegfeld when that theatre's stage was deemed too small. This is why Rio Rita was moved out of the Ziegfeld. I think the references here to Rio Rita's success causing the opening of Show Boat to be delayed are all incorrect and should be revised. Articles in the New York Times bear this out. Anyone else care to weigh in before making any changes? Best wishes, Markhh (talk) 20:59, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Potential for FA status?[edit]

This article has certainly had its issues, but thanks to improvements by several editors it has gone from pretty good to very good, I think, with the potential of being an excellent article indeed. Issues remain, including POV issues in the important controversy section. I think with some careful editing this could be a featured article. It would be helpful if a very experienced WP editor could review the article and make recommendations for the improvements that would be needed to qualify for an A rating and possibly FA status. Any thoughts? Markhh (talk) 20:28, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

"Parthy Ann"[edit]

Not unreasonable to introduce her by both given names in the first instance - silly (not to mention gratuitously irritating) to add the middle name whenever Parthy is mentioned in the rest of the synopsis. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 06:54, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. Markhh (talk) 03:23, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Reliable sources[edit]

Wikipedia requires reliable, published third-party sources, recommending that editors use material published in peer-reviewed journals, etc. Footnote #27 and related cites is taken from a blog by Richard Keeling. Considering how much attention "Show Boat" has gotten over the years, I am sure there are adequate sources that meet Wikipedia's criteria without using a blogger's work. This source should be removed.Parkwells (talk) 19:37, 14 April 2011 (UTC)


Show Boat appeared on the Main Page as part of Wikipedia:Selected anniversaries/December 27. While there, a British user remarked that calling Show Boat the "first true American musical" implies that it's a non-fiction story, and that grammatically speaking, when you attach a modifier to an adjective, you need to use an adverb (thus, "truly"). Since you reverted my edit, perhaps you can rewrite that bit so that it expresses your intended meaning without engendering confusion amongst our non-American readers. Thanks. howcheng {chat} 00:33, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Please - this very obviously belongs here rather than on my talk page!!! One can call something "truly an American musical" or "a true American musical" - there is however a subtle difference in meaning. I am a speaker of "British" (well, rather old fashioned "Australian") English myself - and I do not believe there is in fact a significant dialectal difference here myself. "The "first true English opera" (for instance) does not mean the same as "The first truly English opera". The context here of course is that Show Boat is the first example of a genre that we might class as an "American musical play" - perhaps something between an "American musical comedy" and an "American opera". The theme, or "play" is that of a serious opera rather than the light hearted fluff typical of an operetta or musical comedy. Putting "truly" rather than "true" in this sentence changes the meaning by putting a new emphasis on American- implying that there is a genre called (say) "British musical play" or perhaps even "Australian music play" with which Show Boat is being contrasted. With all due respect to the user who commented on the main page I don't think that "true" in this context means "non-fictional" - the word "true" has a number of other meanings, one of which is very clearly implied here. I'd go as far as to say that if Show Boat were non-fictional we would not in fact attempt to convey the fact by simply using the word "true" - we would either say "non-fictional", or "based on a true story", or some such construction. "True on its own simply does not bear this meaning in a conext like this. Nor, as far as I am concerned, is there such a thing as a gramatical RULE that implies that when you attach a modifier to an adjective, you NEED to use an adverb - although it may very often be more elegant (and, in a different context from this one, less ambiguous) to do so. I reverted your edit NOT because I doubted its good faith, but because I considered, and still consider, after giving it a good deal of thought, that it is mistaken. We all make mistakes (says he who ought to know!) --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:47, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I am a U.S. speaker of English and I agree with Soundofmusicals. "The first true American musical" means the first work that was truly a musical. "The first truly American musical" means "the first musical that was truly American." To express the idea that something is strictly factual in content, it seems to me that I'd use the term "nonfiction," not the term "true." Truman Capote called In Cold Blood a "nonfiction novel," not a "true novel." I would have to say that it seems to me that a misinterpretation of "true musical" to mean "nonfiction musical" is unlikely anyway, as I can't quite imagine what a nonfiction musical would be--even when the topic is biographical ("Annie, Get Your Gun,") the requirements of a musical pretty much dictate that a lot of dramatic license be taken--and in real life most people do not break into song and dance numbers, unless of course they are performing in a musical. Dpbsmith (talk) 22:37, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
But In Cold Blood can also be called "true crime". Regardless, can we rework this bit to be absolutely clear? howcheng {chat} 02:33, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
But it is already perfectly clear. "True" in this context simply does not mean "non-fictional". "True crime" is another matter altogether, being a (rather illiterate) designation for a genre of crime fiction that contains (more or less factual) elements of actual events. Nobody ever called (nor, one trusts, ever will call) a musical based on a true story a "true musical". This is just inventing a difficulty that doesn't exist. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:06, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Having said all that (!) I've actually re-read the original text and had a shot at making the prose a little more "spare" - the word "true" isn't really necessary here anyway, nor is "American" when the context is so very plain that this is an American subject. Is this more pleasing? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:27, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Racial depictions controversy[edit]

This article has been much improved since I last looked in, but I can't help feeling the last section is still too long and overbalances the whole. In particular it gives a lot of weight to a cancelled production by an obscure English amateur company, and controversies surrounding a Canadian production which occurred almost twenty years ago. I'm not suggesting this issue should not be covered, but at the moment readers may go away from this article with the impression that one of the most successful and influential of American musicals is only of significance for the controversies it has provoked and the people it has offended.Wilus (talk) 08:38, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

I don't really know whether it's "too long" really - but it is a bit repetitive. What it seems to say is:
  • Show Boat is racist
  • No it isn't
  • Yes it is too
  • No it isn't
(and so on - the overall effect is just plain unedifying)
Would the section be improved by its replacement by a fair (but succinct) summary of the the arguments of the SBIR mob - followed by a resounding refutation? That would have the side benefit of shortening it too, a least a little.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 08:23, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
It's not the job of WP to either support or refute. A succinct well-cited summary of the arguments on both sides and some history of the conflict should suffice. Markhh (talk) 07:44, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
POV that would be quite innapropriate in an article may possibly be forgiven here! You know what I mean. anyway.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 03:41, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I think that the different points can be presented fairly and any sensible reader can decide for themselves. This section arrived at its present state after a long period of contentious editing and I think no one has wanted to reignite that fire. Maybe the time is right for some judicious editing, but any attempt to slant it or to "prove" one side wrong will just start the whole mess all over again. I understand your feelings, but the article has to be neutral in tone. Because the feelings on both sides are equally strong. I do think that if POV is avoided that the section successfully can be shortened, clarified, updated perhaps, and repetitions removed, so that its prominence will be more in balance with the rest of the article. Markhh (talk) 05:09, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Totally agree of course. Feel free. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:02, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

The 1993/94 Toronto/Broadway production was a milestone in restoring both the original lyrics and the anti-racism slant (or if you like the accurate depiction of attitudes of the time) of Edna Ferber's book. It deserves its own Wiki article IMHO, but I do not have enough info to write it. Somebody more knowledgeable please help! D A Patriarche (talk) 22:43, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

There is a fair bit on this production in this article already - although it is a bit scattered. Really not sure what a specific Wiki article would accomplish, to be honest. Most of the points worth making are at least equally important here. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:32, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Movie Plot[edit]

Someone wiped the account of the (changed) plot of the movie - stating (and I can see their point) that this is irrelevant to THIS article, which is after all about the stage show. I would really like to keep this - provided it stays a very brief summary and doesn't blow out into excessive detail. The fact is that for every person who has had the chance of seeing the stage show there are many who will have seen the movie - if not in a cinema then on television or on a video recording. In particular, a brief summary like this, pointing out the important plot differences, makes sense of the some things (like the strong anti-racist satire of the uncut stage version) that might otherwise not be at all clear, because the film version, important document in its own right as it is, is so heavily Bowdlerised and politically "toned down" and meddled with. In a way it is like the Modest Proposal with the cannibalism removed! This is really best illustrated by a summary of the movie plot such as this one. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 04:24, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

I still think this is better served in the article for the film, but I adjusted the heading to make it clearly a subset of the Synopsis section where it seems more integral to the article than as a section of its own where it seemed out of place. Markhh (talk) 03:46, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Good idea. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 04:44, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Show Boat/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Noleander (talk · contribs) 01:54, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Hi. I can do this GA review. Can the nominator please confirm they are still interested in working on this? --Noleander (talk) 01:54, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

This article was nominated for GA by User:PianoDan. Customarily, the nominating editor should work on the article a bit before nominating. I don't see many edits by PianoDan in the article's history. PianoDan: Can you work on the article for a few days, and then we can start the GA process afterwards? --Noleander (talk) 01:58, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't aware that the a nominator had to have worked on the article. I nominated the article because it seemed to me to be an excellent choice for GA status, but not through any efforts of mine. PianoDan (talk) 02:56, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
That said, if a reviewer decides that further changes would be needed to reach GA status, I am willing and consider myself qualified to make those changes. As it stands now, however, the article looks to me to be in excellent shape. PianoDan (talk) 19:34, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Comments from reviewer[edit]

Cool, glad to hear you're available to work on the article. I'll be happy to do a GA review.

  • Can you start by making sure all non-trivial paragraphs have a footnote? For instance, the 1st two pagaraphs of "American revivals and 1936 film" section; or the paragraph that ends with "This was meant to illustrate how white performers "appropriated" the music and dancing styles of African Americans. Earlier productions of Show Boat, even the 1927 stage original and the 1936 film version, did not go this far in social commentary." Trivial paragraphs that just summarize the plot don't require footnotes. And a footnote is not required for every single sentence ... but each paragraph should end with a footnote, so readers can jump down to the References and see where to go to to get more information about that paragraph's topic.
Does each paragraph really need to END with a footnote, as long as there are appropriate footnotes in logical places in the paragraph? Often it appears that the best place for a footnote in a given paragraph is earlier. That said, I've gone through and added a bunch more.PianoDan (talk) 22:36, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
There is no hard-and-fast rule. But putting the footnote in the middle of a paragr gives the impression that that source only justifies the preceding material; leaving the reader thinking that the following text (latter half of paragr) has no source at all. If the entire paragr comes from one source, the footnote should be at the end. If various parts of the paragr come from multiple sources, then multiple footnotes are best.
  • Second, the article is very skimpy on illustrations. Can you check to see if more are available?
Added two, one from each major film version. PianoDan (talk) 23:14, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Movie plot: The movie plot is mentioned in the following text: "Note: The 1951 MGM film completely changed the final scenes ...". The format of that text is not standard (italic; indented). It should be a dedicated subsection, with a title like "1951 movie plot" or similar. No italic; no indent.
Done - PianoDan (talk) 14:18, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Picture rationales: The 2 new pics are great! They are copyrighted, which means that special work has to be done: in the image file itself you must add a "fair use rationale" into each image, explaining why the image is critical to help readers understand this article. Those images already contain 1 rationale (each) for the article they were originally used it; but a separate rationale is required for each article the image is used in (WP has strict rules on this). You can start by duplicating the old/existing rationale: but you must tailor the new rationale for this article.
Um.. I uploaded the one from the 1936 film myself - it's only ever been used in this article. I'll add one for the MGM image soon.PianoDan (talk) 13:40, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Done - PianoDan (talk) 14:18, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • This sentence needs clarification: "Note: There is no definitive version of the libretto of Show Boat, although the basic plot has always remained the same; minor revisions have been made by the creators, and subsequent producers and directors over the years." - Maybe there are dozens of librettos that have been used; but if one were to purchase the libretto today from the copyright owner, I daresay that there are only 2 or 3 librettos for sale. Maybe it is more accurate to say that "The libretto has been altered/tailored by nearly every director that has staged a production" or similar.
Done PianoDan (talk) 14:18, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Slang: "...did not really use the entire score..." - Word "really" can be omitted.
Done PianoDan (talk) 14:18, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Grammar: "... but its cast album broke ground..." - Word "but" is wrong: it is not contradicting the prior phrase.
Reworded PianoDan (talk) 14:18, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Be precise: "...has been adapted for film several times,..." - May as well specify the quantity.\
Fixed PianoDan (talk) 14:18, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Cite needed: "The soundtrack of the 1936 film version has appeared on a so-called "bootleg" CD label called Xeno." - May be true, but some readers may think it is a hoax or joke. Fine a cite or remove.
Cited - PianoDan (talk) 14:40, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Cite needed: Entire paragraph "In subsequent productions, "niggers" has been changed to "colored folk," ..." contains critical historical information and readers need to know what source to go to to get more information.
Added - PianoDan (talk) 14:40, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Clarify wording: "The 1993 Hal Prince revival, originating in Toronto, brought racial matters into focus. Throughout the production, African Americans constantly cleaned up the mess, moved the sets (even when hydraulics actually moved them), with their presence constantly commenting on the racial disparities." - Could you improve that wording? It took me a couple of reads to understand what is intended. Maybe something like "the production was staged in a way to force the audience to contemplate racial disparities: Af-Am actors performed most menial work on stage during the show, including ..."
Reworded PianoDan (talk) 14:40, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Dead external Links: If you click on the blue "External links" link in the upper right corner of this page, you'll see four red ext links: those are defunct & need to be fixed.
Fixed PianoDan (talk) 18:21, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Section title: "Racial depictions controversy" -> should probably be "Racial issues". The word "controversy" is a bit POV/non-neutral; and the "depictions" is unnecessary.
Done PianoDan (talk) 18:21, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • That's about all I can find. If you fix the few remaining items, I think we are good-to-go for GA status. Nice work!
OK, I think that's everything. Back to studying for finals now! PianoDan (talk) 18:22, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

End Noleander comments. --Noleander (talk) 19:49, 27 November 2012 (UTC)