You may have heard of the impresario Flo Ziegfeld (Flo was short for Florenz.) You may have heard of the Ziegfeld Girls from the early days of movies. You may be wondering why I’m posting about them today.
It turns out that the Ziegfeld Follies aren’t the only thing that the Ziegfelds were involved in. Billie Burke, Flo Ziegfeld’s wife, founded the Ziegfeld Club in 1936, originally to provide support for any Ziegfeld Girl who was having a difficult time. If you’re wondering why the name Billie Burke sounds familiar, she was a star in her own right, best known to modern audiences as Glinda, the Good Witch in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.
Although the original Ziegfeld Girls have all died in the decades since the Ziegfeld Follies was popular, the Ziegfeld Club remains dedicated to helping women in the arts.
According to their website, they now offer the Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award to emerging female composer-lyricists, continuing the Ziegfeld contribution to the arts and to music. Although the website doesn’t seem to have been updated since last year, I certainly hope they are continuing this worthy aim.
They also offer the Liz Swados Inspiration Grant to female music educators in New York City. There are details about this award on their website as well.
I find it inspiring that the Ziegfelds, who brought joy and hope through music and dance from 1907-1931, are still the impetus for bringing music, joy, and hope to the world today.
Z is for Ziegfeld. With this post, I’ve reached the end of my exploration of the alphabet. There’ll be two bonus posts to take us to the end of May, and then the blog will catch some ZZZZZs until fall.