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The glorious tradition of the Broadway musical from Irving Berlin to Jerome Kern and Rodgers and Hammerstein to Stephen Sondheim. And then . . . Cats and Les Miz. Mark Steyn's Broadway Babies Say Goodnight is a sharp-eyed view of the whole span of Broadway musical history, seven decades of brilliant achievements the best of which are among the finest works American artists have made. Show Boat, Oklahoma!, Carousel, Gypsy, and more. In an energetic blend of musical history, analysis, and backstage chat, Mark Steyn shows us the genius behind the 'simple' musical, and asks hard questions about the British invasion of Broadway and the future of the form. In this delicious book he gives us geniuses and monsters, hits and atomic bombs, and the wonderful stories that prove show business is a business which -- as the song goes --there's no business like.
From Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls" to Nina in "In the Heights" and Elphaba in "Wicked," female characters in Broadway musicals have belted and crooned their way into the American psyche. In this lively book, Stacy Wolf illuminates the women of American musical theatre - performers, creators, and characters -- from the start of the cold war to the present day, creating a new, feminist history of the genre. Moving from decade to decade, Wolf first highlights the assumptions that circulated about gender and sexuality at the time. She then looks at the leading musicals to stress the key aspects of the plays as they relate to women, and often finds overlooked moments of empowerment for female audience members. The musicals discussed here are among the most beloved in the canon--"West Side Story," "Cabaret," "A Chorus Line," "Phantom of the Opera," and many others--with special emphasis on the blockbuster "Wicked." Along the way, Wolf demonstrates how the musical since the mid-1940s has actually been dominated by women--women onstage, women in the wings, and women offstage as spectators and fans.
Revised and updated edition of this popular Companion, containing five completely new chapters.
Few musicals have had the impact of Lerner and Loewe's timeless classic My Fair Lady. Sitting in the middle of an era dominated by such seminal figures as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Loesser, and Leonard Bernstein, My Fair Lady not only enjoyed critical success similar to that of its rivals but also had by far the longest run of a Broadway musical up to that time. From 1956 to 1962, its original production played without a break for 2,717 performances, and the show went on to be adapted into one of the most successful movie musicals of all time in 1964, when it won eight Academy Awards. Internationally, the show also broke records in London, and the original production toured to Russia at the height of the Cold War in an attempt to build goodwill. It remains a staple of the musical theater canon today, an oft-staged show in national, regional, and high school theaters across the country. Using previously-unpublished documents, author Dominic McHugh presents a completely new, behind-the-scenes look at the five-year creation of the show, revealing the tensions and complex relationships that went into its making. McHugh charts the show from the aftermath of the premiere of Shaw's Pygmalion and the playwright's persistent refusal to allow it to be made into a musical, through to the quarrel that led lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe to part ways halfway through writing the show, up to opening night and through to the present. This book is the first to shed light on the many behind-the-scenes creative discussions that took place from casting decisions all the way through the final months of frantic preparation leading to the premiere in March 1956. McHugh also traces sketches for the show, looking particularly at the lines cut during the rehearsal and tryout periods, to demonstrate how Lerner evolved the relationship between Higgins and Eliza in such a way as to maintain the delicate balance of ambiguity that characterizes their association in the published script. He looks too at the movie version, and how the cast album and subsequent revivals have influenced the way in which the show has been received. Overall, this book explores why My Fair Lady continues to resonate with audiences worldwide more than fifty years after its premiere.
When the show was first produced in 1960, at a time when transatlantic musical theatre was dominated by American productions, Oliver! already stood out for its overt Englishness. But in writing Oliver!, librettist and composer Lionel Bart had to reconcile the Englishness of his Dickensian source with the American qualities of the integrated book musical. To do so, he turned to the musical traditions that had defined his upbringing: English music hall, Cockney street singing, and East End Yiddish theatre. This book reconstructs the complicated biography of Bart's play, from its early inception as a pop musical inspired by a marketable image, through its evolution into a sincere Dickensian adaptation that would push English musical theatre to new dramatic heights. The book also addresses Oliver!'s phenomenal reception in its homeland, where audiences responded to the musical's Englishness with a nationalistic fervor. The musical, which has more than fulfilled its promise as one of the most popular English musicals of all time, remains one of the country's most significant shows. Author Marc Napolitano shows how Oliver!'s popularity has ultimately exerted a significant influence on two separate cultural trends. Firstly, Bart's adaptation forever impacted the culture text of Dickens's Oliver Twist; to this day, the general perception of the story and the innumerable allusions to the novel in popular media are colored heavily by the sights, scenes, sounds, and songs from the musical, and virtually every major adaptation of from the 1970s on has responded to Bart's work in some way. Secondly, Oliver! helped to move the English musical forward by establishing a post-war English musical tradition that would eventually pave the way for the global dominance of the West End musical in the 1980s. As such, Napolitano's book promises to be an important book for students and scholars in musical theatre studies as well as to general readers interested in the megamusical.
The author surveys the world of tomboys, comedians, and "rebel nuns" who broke the gender stereotype rules on 1950s Broadway, reexamining the careers, roles, and performances of Mary Martin, Ethel Merman, Julie Andrews, and Barbara Streisand from the perspective of lesbian feminism.
This unique historical survey illustrates the interaction of multiple artistic and dramatic considerations with an overview of the development of numerous popular musical theater genres. This introduction provides more than a history of musical theater, it studies the music within the shows to provide an understanding of the contributions of musical theater composers as clearly as the artistry of musical theater lyricists and librettists. The familiarity of the musical helps readers understand how music functions in a song and a show, while giving them the vocabulary to discuss their perceptions. The guide reviews the antecedents to the genre of “musical theater,” the musical stage in the 19th century, divergent paths in the twentieth century, synthesis of style and substance, new partnerships, new faces of the 40s, 50s 60s and 70s, and changes of approach in the 1980s and 90s. For fans of music and musical theater.