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A History of the Broadway Musical Theater

College Edition


Larry Stempel (Author, Fordham University)

Overview | Features | Contents | Formats

A definitive, accessible, and comprehensive history of the Broadway musical.

Here for the first time is the whole history of the musical, on Broadway and off. Stempel combines original research—including a wealthy of primary sources and archival holdings—with deft and insightful analysis, and explores the rich strands of musical theater by genre and type, looking at not only how musicals work but also how they serve as barometers of social concerns and bearers of cultural values.

Beginning with the scandalous Astor Place Opera House riot of 1849, Stempel traces the growth of musicals from minstrel shows and burlesques, through the golden age of Show Boat and Oklahoma!, to such groundbreaking works as Company and Rent. Stempel examines musicals in their cultural and historical context and includes detailed portraits of all the influential figures—the creators, directors, and performers—who made it all possible.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • February 2011
  • ISBN 978-0-393-92906-5
  • 6.1 × 9.2 in / 848 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverShowtime: A History of the Broadway Musical Theater


Endorsements & Reviews

“Large in spirit as well as scope, and as precise, humble, and wise as that Sondheim lyric with which it begins.” — Lloyd Rose, The Washington Post

“Theater buffs will be delighted to find that this scholarly, definitive work is also a hugely entertaining read.” — Publisher's Weekly

“This book is a home run: it is by far the best book ever written about Broadway, a magisterial critical history which will be required reading for virtually anyone interested in musical theater.” — Kim Kowalke, The Eastman School of Music

“Stempel has hit the trifecta: for academics, it’s a definitive work of scholarship; for students, it’s the perfect textbook; for ordinary lovers of musical theater, it’s a treat to savor at the end of a long day.” — Rose Rosengard Subotnik, Brown University

“A substantial work of American music history. Scrupulous but not fussy, learned but not pedantic, Stempel is a fine storyteller who delights in clarity and knows a good joke when he sees one. The precision of his thinking and writing gives the book an aura of authority keenly attuned to the tradition he critiques and celebrates.” — Richard Crawford, University of Michigan, emeritus, and author of America’s Musical Life: A History

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  1. Book CoverAmerica's Musical Life

    "A superb, all-encompassing survey of music in America." —Kirkus ReviewsMore

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