The Oxford Companion to American Theatre

Overview

First published in 1984, Gerald Bordman's Oxford Companion to American Theatre is the standard one-volume source on our national theatre. Critics have hailed its "wealth of authoritative information" (Back Stage), its "fascinating picture of the volatile American stage" (The Guardian), and its "well-chosen, illuminating facts" (Newsday).
Now thoroughly revised, this distinguished volume once again provides an up-to-date guide to the American stage from its beginnings to the ...

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Overview

First published in 1984, Gerald Bordman's Oxford Companion to American Theatre is the standard one-volume source on our national theatre. Critics have hailed its "wealth of authoritative information" (Back Stage), its "fascinating picture of the volatile American stage" (The Guardian), and its "well-chosen, illuminating facts" (Newsday).
Now thoroughly revised, this distinguished volume once again provides an up-to-date guide to the American stage from its beginnings to the present. Completely updated by theater professor Thomas Hischak, the volume includes playwrights, plays, actors, directors, producers, songwriters, famous playhouses, dramatic movements, and much more. The book covers not only classic works (such as Death of a Salesman) but also many commercially successful plays (such as Getting Gertie's Garter), plus entries on foreign figures that have influenced our dramatic development (from Shakespeare to Beckett and Pinter). New entries include recent plays such as Angels in America and Six Degrees of Separation, performers such as Eric Bogosian and Bill Irwin, playwrights like David Henry Hwang and Wendy Wasserstein, and relevant developments and issues including AIDS in American theatre, theatrical producing by Disney, and the rise in solo performance.
Accessible and authoritative, this valuable A-Z reference is ideal not only for students and scholars of theater, but everyone with a passion for the stage.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
While both books give a broad view of the American theater, they have different strengths. The Oxford Companion is an extensive revision of the 1984 edition and is updated with about 700 entries on contemporary playwrights, performers, and plays, which brings the total to approximately 2600 entries. Both Bordman and Hischak have written extensively about the Broadway theater, particularly musicals, and their experience and interests are reflected in the text. The Oxford has many more entries on producers and individual performers (e.g., Bernadette Peters, Audra McDonald, and Ruby Dee have separate entries here but do not in The Facts On File Companion). The articles are more numerous but tend to be shorter, and there is no index or bibliography. The Facts On File Companion reflects the scholarly training of editor Bryer (English, Univ. of Maryland). There are fewer entries (600 total), and many of the articles run several columns with discussions of a particular title (e.g., discussions of Death of a Salesman and Mourning Becomes Electra are each almost three pages). Articles usually have a brief bibliography. Bottom Line If your library has money for only one volume, go with The Oxford Companion. It has more ready-reference detail, and some of the Facts On File analyses of plays can be found in other library sources. However, if the budget allows, buy both, as they complement each other nicely.-Susan L. Peters, Univ. of Texas, Galveston Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-In this new edition of the well-known A-to-Z reference work, Hischak extensively updates and revises Bordman's previous works (Oxford, 1984, 1992; o.p.). Besides the necessary additions and deletions of plays and people, this volume provides several articles on relevant topics, such as "Performance Art" and "AIDS and the American Theatre." The preface states that all "Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize, and New York Drama Critics Circle Award-winning American plays are now included"; however, there are a few omissions. In order to make room for this additional material and yet keep the companion to one volume, Hischak condensed and edited the previous edition, and, as a result, the information projects a more balanced and neutral tone. Unfortunately, the editing has also eliminated much of Bordman's ascerbic wit. Nonetheless, despite some quibbling with entries left intact and exclusion of some modern theatre personalities (e.g., Ann Reinking, Romulus Linney), this is a good choice for libraries needing to update their collections.-Betty S. Evans, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195169867
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 696
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerald Bordman is the author of many books, including American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle, Jerome Kern: His Life and Music, and Days to be Happy, Years to be Sad: The Life and Music of Vincent Youmans.
Thomas S. Hischak is a playwright, professor of theatre at SUNY Cortland, and author of award-winning books on theater including The American Musical Theatre Song Encyclopedia, Stage It With Music: An Encyclopedic Guide to the American Musical Theatre, and Word Crazy: Broadway Lyricists from Cohan to Sondheim.

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