The Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
For those familiar with Gnzl's Book of the Musical Theatre LJ 4/15/89 or The British Musical Theatre Oxford Univ. Pr., 1987, this is a much-anticipated work. Gnzl has admittedly and wisely avoided attempting a comprehensive study; there are, for instance, entries for operettas but not operas. Originally intended as a single volume, this two-volume set includes nearly 3000 articles on the most productive people and the most produced works throughout most of the world for the last 150 years. Biographical articles are quite complete, some running to two pages and more, and include exhaustive lists of works written or performed. Articles on specific works include plot summaries and information on performers and production places, dates, and details. An extremely useful work; highly recommended for most libraries with theater collections.-Jon P. Cobes, Central Wyoming Coll., Riverton
Zom Zoms
The author of "The British Musical Theatre" (Oxford, 1987) and "Gänzl's Book of the Musical Theatre" (Schirmer, 1989) shares his passion in this international compendium. Here are approximately 2,700 entries for performers, composers, writers, and shows; some producers, directors, choreographers, and designers are included as well. The scope is the text-based musical (no opera, pantomines, or revues) as performed in Britain, Europe, the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While the choice of entries is ultimately idiosyncratic, Gänzl sought subjects most widely known internationally. This means there are no entries for such well-known American performers as Stubby Kaye and Robert Alda while many obscure nineteenth-century European performers are covered Entries are generally at least two paragraphs in length and can be as long as three pages (e.g., for Richard Rogers, Franz von Suppe) and start with a brief identifier (e.g., "Musical comedy in 2 acts by Harold Atteridge"). For people, basic biographical information is given with lists of the musicals in which they were involved. When available, biographies or autobiographies are listed. Plot summaries and international performance history are given for musicals. Film adaptations are described, and some recordings and books are cited. The 315 black-and-white illustrations include cast shots and covers of playbills and sheet music. The arrangement is alphabetical; cross-references and an index are lacking Gänzl's introduction indicates that he collects everything he can find on musicals but also does library and archive research to verify his facts. The writing here is informal and slangy, often in a British vein. For example, the article on Casanova comments "on those allegedly rare occasions when he was not out putting it about. Other reference books on musical theater are more narrow in scope (Bordman's "American Musical Theater", 2d ed. ["RBB" Jl 92]; Stanley Green's "Encyclopedia of the Musical Theater" [Da Capo, 1980]; Swain's "The Broadway Musical" [Oxford, 1990]) and may suffice in many public libraries. "Gänzl's Book of the Musical Theatre" covers 300 shows from seven countries in much greater detail than this encyclopedia. The coverage in this new set is wide, and articles are readable and informative. Although seemingly adequately researched, it is not written in a scholarly style. An index and/or cross-references would have greatly increased access to the information. This is a must for music collections and is worth considering for academic and large public libraries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028714455
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 3/1/1994
  • Edition description: American ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1632
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 10.52 (h) x 3.34 (d)

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