Second Act Trouble by Steven Suskin(Applause Books). If Broadway's triumphant musical hits are exhilarating, the backstage tales of Broadway failures are tantalizing soap operas in miniature. Second Act Trouble puts you with the creators in the rehearsal halls, at out-of-town tryouts, in late-night, hotel-room production meetings, and at after-the-fact recriminatory gripe fests. Suskin has compiled and annotated long-forgotten, first-person accounts of 25 Broadway musicals that stubbornly went awry. Contributions come from such respected writers as Patricia Bosworth, Mel Gussow, Lehman Engel, William Gibson, Lewis H. Lapham, and John Gruen. No mere vanity productions, these; you can't have a big blockbuster of failure, it seems, without the participation of Broadway's biggest talents. Caught in the stranglehold of tryout turmoil are Richard Rodgers, Jule Styne, Jerry Herman, Cy Coleman, Charles Strouse, John Kander, Mel Brooks, and even Edward Albee. The infamous shows featured include Mack & Mabel; Breakfast at Tiffany's; The Act; Dude; Golden Boy; Hellzapoppin'; Nick and Nora; Seesaw; Kelly; and How Now, Dow Jones .
Call Number: ML2054 .S96 2006
Publication Date: 2006-01-01
American Film Musical Themes and Forms by Michael DunneThe musical has been called "the most popular form of entertainment in the world." This work examines the subjects, themes, and contemporary relevance of Hollywood musicals through their long popularity, placing each show in historical and political context and analyzing it in detail. A chapter is devoted to how Golddiggers of 1933 (1933) and Stand Up and Cheer (1934) deal with the economic crises of the Depressions. Another addresses race issues by examining the prevalence of blackface minstrelsy in the 1930s and 1940s, looking at productions like Swing Time (1936) and Dixie (1943). Rock and roll culture, which started in the 1950s and threatened America with teenage sex and rebellion, is addressed through such hits as Girl Crazy (1943), Bye Bye Birdie (1963), and Grease (1978). The work also explores dance as a signifier of character, the geography of musicals (such as New York or "the South"), fantasy settings, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, and the musical biopic (mentioning biographies of such figures as Ziegfeld, Cohan, Rogers and Hart, Cole Porter, and Jerome Kern). A later chapter discusses intertextuality in such shows as Singin' in the Rain (1952), which refers to many earlier musicals; Kiss Me Kate (1953) which refers to Taming of the Shrew; and All That Jazz (1970) which refers to the life and work of Bob Fosse. The work concludes with an examination of the continuing popularity of the musical with such hits as Moulin Rouge (2001) and Chicago (2002). Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
Call Number: PN1995.9.M86 D86 2004
Publication Date: 2004-07-28
A Chronology of American Musical Theater by Richard C. NortonWith an introductory chapter discussing the very earliest productions--The Beggar's Opera (1750), The Archers (1796), Tom and Jerry (1823), and The Bohemian Girl (1844)--A Chronology of American Musical Theater offers in-depth coverage of Broadway musicals from 1850-2001. The book's entriesspan more than 5,000 shows, including not only "book musicals" but also revivals, revues, burlesques, operettas, farce comedies, comic operas, ice skating shows, rock operas, and other musical spectacles that appeared on Broadway stages. Drawing on primary documents--playbills, newspaper reviews, advertisements, and articles--Richard C. Norton has assembled a wealth of information in an easy-to-use format. All productions appear in chronological order by season in the first two volumes and are indexed alphabetically in volumethree, allowing readers to quickly locate shows by either date or title, with variant titles also included. Entries contain the full cast, including chorus and dance ensemble (when known), composers, lyricists, book writers, choreographers, set designers, costumers, lighting designers, directors,and producers, followed by details of acts and scenes, and a comprehensive list of songs, sketches, dances, and specialties. The opening paragraph of each entry also contains information which does not appear in programs, such as opening and closing dates, change of venue, return engagements, andnumber of performances. In addition to the title index, complete song and principal performer indexes are also included, as well as a selected index of personal names of creators and secondary performers. No other resource--print or electronic--offers as many musicals as the Chronology of AmericanMusical Theater. For anyone wishing to trace the history of a Broadway musical, or to research any aspect of this vital popular art, this three-volume set is the best, and in many instances, the only place to start.
Call Number: ML1711.8.N3 N67 2002
Publication Date: 2002-06-06
Disintegrating the Musical by Arthur KnightFrom the earliest sound films to the present, American cinema has represented African Americans as decidedly musical. Disintegrating the Musical tracks and analyzes this history of musical representations of African Americans, from blacks and whites in blackface to black-cast musicals to jazz shorts, from sorrow songs to show tunes to bebop and beyond. Arthur Knight focuses on American film's classic sound era, when Hollywood studios made eight all-black-cast musicals--a focus on Afro-America unparalleled in any other genre. It was during this same period that the first black film stars--Paul Robeson, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge--emerged, not coincidentally, from the ranks of musical performers. That these films made so much of the connection between African Americans and musicality was somewhat ironic, Knight points out, because they did so in a form (song) and a genre (the musical) celebrating American social integration, community, and the marriage of opposites--even as the films themselves were segregated and played before even more strictly segregated audiences. Disintegrating the Musical covers territory both familiar--Show Boat, Stormy Weather, Porgy and Bess--and obscure--musical films by pioneer black director Oscar Micheaux, Lena Horne's first film The Duke Is Tops, specialty numbers tucked into better-known features, and lost classics like the short Jammin' the Blues. It considers the social and cultural contexts from which these films arose and how African American critics and audiences responded to them. Finally, Disintegrating the Musical shows how this history connects with the present practices of contemporary musical films like O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Bamboozled.