Show Tunes: The Songs, Shows, and Careers of Broadway's Major Composers / Edition 1

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This majestic reference book fully chronicles the shows, songs, and careers of the major composers of the American musical theater, from Jerome Kern's earliest interpolations to the latest hits on Broadway. Gershwin, Rodgers, Porter, Berlin, Bernstein, Loesser, Sondheim, Kander, Finn, Flaherty, and more--this book covers their work, their innovations, their successes, and their failures. Show Tunes is simply the most comprehensive volume of its kind ever produced, and this newly revised and updated edition discusses over 900 shows and almost 8,000 show tunes. The book has been called "a concise skeleton key to the Broadway musical" (Variety) and "a ground-breaking reference work with a difference" (Show Music)--or, as the Washington Post observed, "It makes you sing and dance all over your memory."

The eagerly anticipated Third Edition, updated through January 1999, features the entire theatrical output of thirty-six of Broadway's leading composers, in addition to a wide selection of work by other composers. The listings include essential production data and statistics, the most extensive information available on published and recorded songs, and lively commentary on the shows, songs, and diverse careers.

Based on meticulous research, the book also uncovers dozens of lost musicals--including shows that either closed out of town or were never headed for Broadway--and catalogs hundreds of previously unknown songs, including a number of musical gems that have been misplaced, cut, or forgotten. The book also includes a detailed chronology of the musicals and a show-by-show guide to the careers of Broadway's most important lyricists, librettists, producers, directors, and choreographers.

Informative, insightful, and provocative, Show Tunes is an essential guide for anyone interested in the American musical.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is an impressive compilation of the work of 30 top Broadway composers, divided into three parts by generation. Spanning 1905 to June 1985, the productions covered are presented in three sections: Show Data, including relevant dates, theaters and cities, composers, lyricists, and choreographers; Song Information, a guide to all published songs from each show; and Commentary, the author's brief comments on why and how composers wrote what they did. The book's greatest assets are its exhaustive song listings (which include songs reused in different productions, and differing versions of songs), and its coverage of recent productions. While good as a comprehensive reference work, it doesn't attempt as much exposition as other books like Stanley Green's Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre (Dodd, 1976). Recommended. Daniel J. Lombardo, Jones Lib., Amherst, Mass.
From the Publisher

"Three valuable appendixes list the shows chronologically, give data on all collaborators, and offer a bibliography with advice on how to locate the music....the author's comments...provide an excellent narrative about the selected composers....A popular addition for all large collections serving upper-division undergraduates through faculty, professionals, and general readers."--Choice

"All the classics are present in Steven Suskin's dazzingly thorough catalogue raisonné, Show Tunes, along with other musicals that have taken the stage since 1904, from 'Fascinating Flora' (1907) and 'Fluffy Ruffles' (1908) to 'Bar Mitzvah Boy' (1978)." --The New Yorker

"Suskin's commentary for the majority of cited shows is chattily informative, conjoining anecdotes with facts about why a musical did or didn't succeed. He has clearly studied and loves the genre....The first edition of Suskin's work became an indispensable resource; expanded, updated volumes make Show Tunes all the more valuable."--Show Music

"Virtually a musical theatre encyclopedia, chock full of details and rich analyses of the theatre's most celebrated (and less celebrated) lyricists and composers and their shows and songs."--Encore

"Convenient, and easy to lay your hands on...never dry or dull."

"Estimable and essential...Invaluable for reliable fact and for the chasing of references." --Times Literary Supplement

"Suskin does his job well, with balanced essays." --Choice

"An infectious love of musical theatre infuses every passage...meticulously researched exploration." --Second Pages/Planman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195125993
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/1999
  • Edition description: 3RD, REVISED & EXPANDED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 608
  • Lexile: 1180L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Suskin, a longtime theatrical producer and manager, is also author of the highly acclaimed Opening Night on Broadway (1990) and More Opening Nights on Broadway (1994).

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Preface to the Third Edition xi
Prefaces to the Earlier Editions xiii
Acknowledgments xv
How to Use This Book xvii
Part I Composers of the Early Years
Introduction 1
Jerome Kern 3
Irving Berlin 37
George Gershwin 57
Vincent Youmans 77
Richard Rodgers 85
Cole Porter 117
Arthur Schwartz 135
Harold Arlen 149
Vernon Duke 159
Burton Lane 169
Kurt Weill 173
Marc Blitzstein 185
Harold Rome 193
Part II New Composers of the 1940s and 1950s
Introduction 203
Hugh Martin 205
Leonard Bernstein 211
Frederick Loewe 221
Jule Styne 227
Frank Loesser 243
Richard Adler 251
Jerry Bock 255
Bob Merrill 263
Meredith Willson 269
Stephen Sondheim 273
Part III New Composers of the 1960s and Beyond
Introduction 291
Charles Strouse 293
Harvey Schmidt 305
Cy Coleman 313
Jerry Herman 323
John Kander 331
Mitch Leigh 343
Larry Grossman 349
Stephen Schwartz 355
Marvin Hamlisch 359
Alan Menken 363
William Finn 369
Maury Yeston 375
Stephen Flaherty 381
Part IV Notable Scores by Other Composers
Introduction 385
Irene 387
Shuffle Along 387
George White's Scandals of 1926 388
Good News! 388
Blackbirds of 1928 389
Whoopee 389
Fine and Dandy 390
Walk With Music 390
Early to Bed 391
Beggar's Holiday 391
Flahooley 392
Top Banana 392
Kismet 393
The Golden Apple 394
Plain and Fancy 394
Li'l Abner 395
Goldilocks 396
Redhead 396
Once Upon a Mattress 397
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown 397
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris 398
Hair 399
Promises, Promises 400
1776 400
Promenade 401
Purlie 402
Grease 402
The Wiz 403
Shenandoah 403
The Robber Bridegroom 404
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas 404
Dreamgirls 405
Baby 405
Big River 406
The Secret Garden 406
Jelly's Last Jam 407
Victor/Victoria 408
Floyd Collins 408
Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk 409
Big 409
Rent 410
Jekyll & Hyde 411
Side Show 412
The Lion King 413
Saturn Returns: A Concert 413
Parade 414
Appendix 1 Chronological Listing of Productions 417
Appendix 2 Collaborator Reference Listing 441
Appendix 3 Bibliography and a Word about Finding Music 463
Song Title Index 467
Show Index 543
People Index 557
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