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American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle

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Gerald Bordman's "American Musical Theatre" has become a landmark book since its original publication in 1978. Chronicling American musicals, show by show and season by season, it offers a running commentary and assessment as well as providing the basic facts about each production. This updated edition includes the new shows that have opened on Broadway since the original publication and a complete general index. Also included are over a hundred musicals newly discovered by Bordman—turn-of-the-century, ...
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Overview

Gerald Bordman's "American Musical Theatre" has become a landmark book since its original publication in 1978. Chronicling American musicals, show by show and season by season, it offers a running commentary and assessment as well as providing the basic facts about each production. This updated edition includes the new shows that have opened on Broadway since the original publication and a complete general index. Also included are over a hundred musicals newly discovered by Bordman—turn-of-the-century, cheap-priced touring shows that never played Broadway, but were the training ground for many theatre guests. An invaluable guide to American musical theatre past and present, this book will be welcome reading for theatregoers everywhere.

The first comprehensive history of American musical theatre, Bordman's highly-acclaimed volume chronicles the development of this unique institution from 1866 to the 1984-85 season.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A standard since its original publication in 1978, Bordman's guide chronicles American musicals, show by show and season by season, offering a running commentary and assessment as well as providing the basic facts about each production. This updated edition includes the new shows that have opened on Broadway since the original publication and a complete general index, as well as adding over a hundred musicals newly discovered by Bordman--turn-of-the-century touring shows that never played Broadway. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"Absolutely the best reference of its kind."—Newsweek

"One of the most thorough treatments of the subject to be produced."—RBB/Booklist

"A chronicle of unapproached detail, sweep, and relish."—The Washington Post

"Fun to read...a labor of love."—The New York Times

"THE reference book for the American musical theater...a remarkable achievement."—Musical Opinion

"...Bordman's narrative chronology provides endless entertainment, in addition to a wealth of information. Open American Musical Theatre at almost any page and you will find hours whiz by before you realize it."—Show Music

"Simply put, there is no other work on the American musical theater that provides such comprehensive information to the highlights of major and minor musical productions, nor that provides such information is a highly readable, informative and entertaining format."—American Reference Book Annual 2002

"American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle, Fourth Edition now runs over 1,000 pages....easier to read and easier for browsing."—Steven Suskin, Playbill.com

"....fair, perceptive and interesting readingL.. giving the reader a real feel for what the show was like."—Brad Hataway, Theatre Shelf

"This is the most up-to-date subject reference available and an enjoyable read."— Library Journal

"The fourth edition of American Musical Theatre brings readers up-to-date with early-twenty-first-century developments of musicals and the musical-theater industry through a new section by coauthor Norton... Bordman's passion for this genre is obvious, and the writing is informative and intelligent. Norton follows in the same format for 2000-2010... There are many other Broadway encyclopedias that offer show-by-show details, but Bordman's and Norton's narratives provide an additional perspective beyond lists of facts."— Booklist

Library Journal
This updated and revised edition (following the 2001 third edition) incorporates developments to musical theater from the last decade. Bordman (coauthor, The Oxford Companion to American Theatre) and Norton (A Chronology of American Musical Theater) open this admittedly New York-centric guide with a prolog on the late 18th-century genesis of musical theater. Throughout, sidebars offer thumbnail profiles of actors, directors, and notable figures in musical theater history. The content is organized chronologically by season, and several paragraphs detail the significance and critical reception of each year's debuts. This is the most up-to-date subject reference available and an enjoyable read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195040456
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/4/1986
  • Edition description: Expanded ed
  • Pages: 800
  • Product dimensions: 7.56 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerald Bordman is the author of many books on theatrical history, including American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1930-1969; Jerome Kern: His Life and Music; and the Oxford Companion to American Theatre (with Thomas Hischak). Richard C. Norton, a musical theatre archivist, historian and former producer, is the author of A Chronology of American Musical Theater (2002), an ALA Outstanding Reference Source.

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Table of Contents

1 Prologue: Origins to 1866 1
2 Act One: Early Successes 18
Scene One: Opera Bouffe and Native Elements, 1866-1878 18
Scene Two: H.M.S. Pinafore and the Great Transformation, 1878-1892 43
3 Intermission: Further British Influences and New Stirrings, 1892-1902 118
4 Act Two: The Emergence of American Talent, 1902-1907 183
5 Intermission: Viennese Operetta and the American Retreat, 1907-1914 230
6 Act Three: The Birth of the Modern Musical, 1914-1921 297
7 Intermission: The Cinderella Era, 1921-1924 362
8 Act Four: The Golden Age of the American Musical, 1924-1937 388
Scene One: Songwriters' Shows as Pure Entertainment, 1924-1929 389
Scene Two: Depression and "Talkies"--Broadway's Answer, 1929-1937 451
9 Intermission: Broadway's Response to the Swing Era 503
10 Act Five: The American Musical as a Conscious Art Form 529
Scene One: Americana Amid a New Seriousness, 1942-1951 530
Scene Two: Increasing Problems--Lowering Standards, 1951-1965 580
11 Intermission: Exhaustion, 1965-1969 642
12 Act Six: Full Circle?; or, Return of the Brits 663
Scene One: Startlingly New, Delightfully Old, 1969-1981 666
Scene Two: A Musical Trade Imbalance, 1981-1990 707
Appendix 730
Index
Shows and Sources 761
Songs 784
People 801
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