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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.
To see a Broadway musical is to experience how a drama, using melody, harmony, and rhythm, evokes the emotion needed to perpetuate a story line. Without music, many of these plays would not succeed, failing to convey the intended message. This new edition of Swain's classic text, winner of the 1991 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, reveals how a musical drama achieves plot movement, character development and conflict through strategic placement of song and music in 20 musical plays. Unlike critical literature that has simply explored theatrical style and production histories, this survey focuses mainly on the power of music. Illustrated with more than 150 musical excerpts and essays, Swain includes the latest research and viewpoints of contemporary critics, offering insight into dramatic expression and how renowned composers including Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Jerry Bock, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber influenced the Broadway musical. This provides insights into the many impressive musicals to hit the stage between the years of 1927 and 1987, illuminating how specific revisions to productions such as Showboat and, Oklahoma! forever changed their popularity. Learn how music is used as a symbol for psychological or emotional action from Shakespearean drama's such as Kiss Me, Kate and West Side Story, to more current dramas including Godspell, A Chorus Line, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Replete with a never seen before essay on Les Misérables, this edition also includes an expanded epilogue highlighting the phenomena behind Miss Saigon and Phantom of the Opera, "megamusicals" that changed the direction of the Broadway tradition. For professors of dramatic arts and people interested in Broadway musicals, theater, popular music and opera.

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