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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $34.35
  • February 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-92906-5
  • 6.1 × 9.2 in / 848 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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Showtime

A History of the Broadway Musical Theater

College Edition

Paperback

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$39.95

Larry Stempel (Author, Fordham University)

 

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.

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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

Connects Broadway shows to American culture and history

Here for the first time is the whole history of the musical, on stage and off. Stempel illuminates how for two centuries, the Broadway musical has been a living, changing genre shaped by the forces of American history and culture.

Comprehensive in scope

Showtime covers musical theater in three large sections: from the Civil War (and the Astor Place Riots) to the end of the nineteenth century, when New York became the hub of theatrical life; from the early twentieth century through Broadway’s Golden Age; and from World War II to the present day. 

Detailed in approach

Stempel explains what each genre of musical theater is, how it works, and who made it possible. The text includes vivid accounts and portraits of talents such as Jerome Robbins, Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Bert Williams, Lillian Russell, Gertrude Lawrence, Rex Harrison, Mandy Patinkin, and many more.

Engaging, scholarly, and up-to-date

In covering the subject, Stempel combines decades of original research—including primary sources and archival holdings—with deft and insightful analysis. 

Eye-catching, seldom-seen photographs

Showtime includes a 16-page color insert, plus 109 black and white photos of the casts, theaters, and performances described in the book. 

    Illustrations
    Preface



    Introduction: BEFORE THE CURTAIN


    PART ONE: OUT OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

    Chapter 1: TRANSITION STAGES
    The Astor Place Riot
    Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the Musical
    The Black Crook
    Chapter 2: VARIETY STAGES
    From Minstrelsy to Vaudeville
    Harrigan and Hart
    Weber and Fields
    Williams and Walker
    Chapter 3: A TRANSATLANTIC MUSE
    Operetta: The Golden Age
    Light Opera in America
    American Light Opera



    PART TWO: INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

    Chapter 4: THE NATIVE WIT
    Cohan and Times Square
    Berlin and Tin Pan Alley
    Bolton-Wodehouse-Kern: The Princess Theater
    Chapter 5: THE CULT OF ROMANCE
    Operetta: The Silver Age
    Romberg and Friml
    Show Boat
    Chapter 6: A SHADOW OF VULGARITY
    Revues: Spectacular and Intimate
    Musical Comedy/Musical Farce Comedy
    Jazz-Age “Jazz”
    Chapter 7: BROADWAY SONGBOOK
    The Gershwins
    Cole Porter
    Rodgers and Hart
    Chapter 8: THE SCRIPT ANGLE
    A Musical Play
    Oklahoma!: The Musical Play
    Literate Musical Comedy
    Chapter 9: MUSICAL THEATER: THE NEW ART
    Rodgers and Hammerstein
    Lerner and Loewe
    Harnick and Bock
    Chapter 10: OPERA, IN OUR OWN WAY
    Opera on Broadway
    Broadway Opera
    West Side Story
    Chapter 11: THE GREAT AMERICAN SHOWSHOP
    The Abbott Touch
    Harburg’s Circle
    A Loesser Orbit
    Comden and Green--and Styne



    PART THREE: TOWARD THE NEW MILLENNIUM

    Chapter 12: AWAY FROM BROADWAY
    Early Alternative Musicals
    The Off Broadway Renaissance
    Farther “Off” and Coming Back
    Chapter 13: THE METAPHOR ANGLE
    Cabaret and the Concept Musical
    Prince, Sondheim & Co.
    Sondheim After Prince
    Chapter 14: A DANCING PLACE
    The Ballet-Directors: De Mille and Robbins
    The Hoofer-Directors: Champion and Fosse
    A Chorus Line and After
    Chapter 15: DISTANCING EFFECTS
    Rice, Lloyd Webber, and Rock Opera
    Mackintosh and the Megamusical
    Disney and the Movical
    Chapter 16: ANOTHER BROADWAY… ANOTHER SHOW…
    Revivals
    Antimusicals
    Sondheim’s Children

    Notes
    Works Cited
    Selected Historical Discography
    Credits
    Index