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The Cambridge History of American Theatre

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Volume 3 of this authoritative and wide-ranging history of American theater examines the theater after World War II, through Broadway and beyond, as well as regional theater across the country. Contributors also analyze new directions in theater design, directing, and acting, as well as key plays and playwrights through the 1990s.

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Editorial Reviews

Wilmeth and Bigsby's history is the finest written about the American theater in many years.
From the Publisher
"This first volume of the Cambridge History of American Theatre, edited by Wilmeth and Bigsby, promises to be all you need to know about the history of our theatre. I don't want to pretend to you that I've read all of this robust volume one, but enough to tell me that I have lived in darkness when it comes to most of what happened in this theatre before the twenties. It turns out that a lot did, including some important riots...and a steady stream of shows, most of them melodramas, to be sure, that could probably do more to illuminate the public mind for us than most journalism or conventional historical writing about the time.

The theatre is a very complex and not easily interpreted indicator of any period. But by its nature it is obliged to hold the interest of a very differentiated public, and through its prism one may more or less make out the public mind. The Cambridge History covers the basic features of the American theatre's evolution from the beginning, its stars and playwrights and producers, and the changing content of its writing and acting styles and themes, but at the same time it incorporates the social and political influences upon theatre, so that a reader can relate his own experience to that of the past. Of all the arts, theatre is most obviously and necessarily imbedded in its time, and this new history provides what is relevant to it in society, a welcome way of seeing the development of this art.

In short, this is not a once-over-lightly, but a work meticulously written to throw light upon theatre as an expression of its many different faces on this continent. I don't know Don Wilmeth but his fellow editor, Christopher Bigsby I have known for many years, and can testify that he has more often surprised me with information about our past and its evolution than any other critic, American or foreign. It is a great pleasure to make this award to both of you." Arthur Miller

"The analysis of the works of contemporary playwrights is indeed first-rate and perhaps the strongest aspect of the volume...this three-volume set, now complete, is a must for all academic, professional, and large public libraries." Choice

"Wilmeth and Bigsby can be credited with exacting scholarly standards, demonstrated by the volume's credited with exacting scholarly standards, demonstrated by the volume's superb reliance on primary sources and by its meticulous documentation. Chapters may be read individually or as part of the whole; each provides a wealth of valuable information. Most impressive is the prodigious research that has been invested in this project...a first-rate reference guide and a valuable research tool." Modern Drama

"This companion volume is an extraordinary compilation of topical essays written by several of America's most prominant theatre scholars...In addition to several excellent photographs and illustrations, the edition includes a 65-page timeline that juxtaposes theatrical events with historical and cultural events in the United States and abroad." New England Theatre Journal

"a solid contribution to a fascinating period in American theater.' History: Review of New Books

"This excellent reference work is the third (and probably last) volume in The Cambridge History of American Theatre series...The editors and the contributors are erudite and scholarly. Their essays are well written and interesting to read as well as full of important information. This is a reference work that theater historians, students, and lovers of the theater should either own or demand that their libraries procure. If one wants to learn about the modern theater, this is the book to consult." Libraries Unlimited demand that their library procure

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction Christopher Bigsby; Timeline: post-World War II to 1998 Don B. Wilmeth and Jonathan Curley; 1. American theatre in context: 1945- present Arnold Aronson; 2. A changing theatre: Broadway to the regions Broadway Laurence Maslon; Off- and off-off Broadway Mel Gussow; Regional/resident theatre Martha Lomonaco; Alternative theatre Marvin Carlson; 3. The plays and playwrights: plays and playwrights: 1945-1970 June Schlueter; Plays and playwrights since 1970 Matthew Roudane; 4. Musical theatre since World War II John Degen; 5. Directors and direction Samuel L. Leiter; 6. Actors and acting Foster Hirsch; 7. American theatre design since 1945 Ronn Smith.

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