Showtime A History of the Broadway Musical Theater

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2010-09-06
Publisher(s): W. W. Norton & Company
List Price: $53.33

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Customer Reviews

The best history book  April 23, 2011
Rating StarRating StarRating StarRating StarRating Star

This is the most complete, most detailed, and most illuminating textbook on the history and development of musical theater, from its beginnings to the present day. It is perhaps more than some want to know about this art form, and yet if one is to really understand it, the amount of detail provided is extremely helpful. It is the kind of textbook to sip like a great wine...slowly and carefully to appreciate all the nuances and textures. I think it is a wonderful scholarly treatise that makes the Broadway Musical not only fun, but meaningful in American history.

Showtime A History of the Broadway Musical Theater: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.


Showtime brings the history of Broadway musicals to life in a narrative as engaging as the subject itself. Beginning with the scandalous Astor Place Opera House riot of 1849, Larry 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 describes the Broadway stage with vivid accounts of the performers drawn to it, and detailed portraits of the creators who wrote the music, lyrics, and stories for its shows, both beloved and less well known. But Stempel travels outside the theater doors as well, to illuminate the wider world of musical theater as a living genre shaped by the forces of American history and culture. He reveals not only how musicals entertain their audiences but also how they serve as barometers of social concerns and bearers of cultural values.

Showtime is the culmination of decades of painstaking research on a genre whose forms have changed over the course of two centuries. In covering the expansive subject before him, Stempel combines original research—including a kaleidoscope of primary sources and archival holdings—with deft and insightful analysis. The result is nothing short of the most comprehensive, authoritative history of the Broadway musical yet published.

''Not just a catalog or reference book, but a highly astute, integrative cultural history.'' -Kirkus Reviews

''Throughout, as Stempel traces the evolution with exhaustive archival research, he offers a penetrating and illuminating analysis of various musical forms and influences. Many of the 105 carefully selected black-and-white illustrations are surprising and revelatory. Theater buffs will be delighted to find that this scholarly, definitive work is also a hugely entertaining read.'' -Publishers Weekly

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. xi
Prefacep. xv
Introduction: Before The Curtainp. 1
Out Of The Nineteenth Century
Transition Stagesp. 19
The Astor Place Riotp. 27
Uncle Tom's Cabin, the Musicalp. 35
The Black Crookp. 42
Variety Stagesp. 53
From Minstrelsy to Vaudevillep. 56
Harrigan and Hartp. 68
Weber and Fieldsp. 77
Williams and Walkerp. 85
A Transatlantic Musep. 95
Operetta: The Golden Agep. 98
Light Opera in Americap. 105
American Light Operap. 116
Into The Twentieth Century
The Native Witp. 131
Cohan and Times Squarep. 137
Berlin and Tin Pan Alleyp. 144
Bolton-Wodehouse-Kern: The Princess Theaterp. 159
The Cult Of Romancep. 169
Operetta: The Silver Agep. 174
Romberg and Frimlp. 180
Show Boatp. 192
A Shadow Of Vulgarityp. 203
Revues: Spectacular and Intimatep. 208
Musical Comedy/Musical Farce Comedyp. 222
Jazz-Age "Jazz"p. 228
Broadway Songbookp. 241
The Gershwinsp. 250
Cole Porterp. 263
Rodgers and Hartp. 275
The Script Anglep. 289
A Musical Playp. 293
Oklahomal: The Musical Playp. 300
Literate Musical Comedyp. 312
Musical Theater: The New Artp. 329
Rodgers and Hammersteinp. 334
Lerner and Loewep. 348
Harnick and Bockp. 357
Opera, In Our Own Wayp. 367
Opera on Broadwayp. 374
Broadway Operap. 385
West Side Storyp. 397
The Great American Showshopp. 409
The Abbott Touchp. 419
Harburg's Circlep. 425
A Loesser Orbitp. 433
Comden and Green-and Stynep. 445
Toward The New Millennium
Away From Broadwayp. 459
Early Alternative Musicalsp. 465
The Off Broadway Renaissancep. 480
Farther "Off" and Coming Backp. 497
The Metaphor Anglep. 515
Cabaret and the Concept Musicalp. 522
Prince, Sondheim & Co.p. 531
Sondheim After Princep. 543
A Dancing Placep. 557
The Ballet-Directors: De Mille and Robbinsp. 564
The Hoofer-Directors: Champion and Fossep. 573
A Chorus Line and Afterp. 585
Distancing Effectsp. 601
Rice, Lloyd Webber, and Rock Operap. 607
Mackintosh and the Megamusicalp. 617
Disney and the Movicalp. 629
Another Broadway... Another Show...p. 643
Revivalsp. 645
Antimusicalsp. 656
Sondheim's Childrenp. 668
Notesp. 687
Works Citedp. 745
Selected Historical Discographyp. 783
Creditsp. 787
Indexp. 795
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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