To Broadway, To Life!: The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick

Overview

In fourteen years of collaboration, composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick wrote seven of Broadway's most beloved and memorable musicals together, most famously Fiddler on the Roof (1964), but also the enduring audience favorite She Loves Me (1963), and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fiorello! (1959). With their charm, humor, and boundless musical invention, their musicals have won eighteen Tony Awards and continue to capture the imaginations of millions around the world.

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To Broadway, To Life!: The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick

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Overview

In fourteen years of collaboration, composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick wrote seven of Broadway's most beloved and memorable musicals together, most famously Fiddler on the Roof (1964), but also the enduring audience favorite She Loves Me (1963), and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fiorello! (1959). With their charm, humor, and boundless musical invention, their musicals have won eighteen Tony Awards and continue to capture the imaginations of millions around the world.

To Broadway, To Life!: The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick is the first complete book about these creative figures, one of Broadway's most important songwriting teams. Drawing from extensive archival sources, and from personal interviews and communications with Bock and Harnick themselves and their most important collaborators, author Philip Lambert explores the essence of a Bock-Harnick show: how it is put together, and what makes it work. The book includes discussion of songs such as "Sunrise, Sunset" and "If I Were a Rich Man" that have long been favorites in the public consciousness, and it also explores a vast catalogue of lesser-known songs from their many other shows and works, including a musical puppet show on Broadway, music for the 1964 World's Fair, and a made-for-television musical. Here too is the first look at the little-known youthful professional beginnings of Bock and Harnick in revues and television shows and summer retreats in the 1950s, and the careers they have forged for themselves with new collaborators in the decades since their partnership dissolved in 1970.

The musicals of Bock and Harnick came at a transitional time in Broadway history, when the traditions of Rodgers and Hammerstein were starting to give way to the concept musical, the rock musical, and eventually the mega-musical. To Broadway, To Life! combines exhaustive research, close musical investigation, and interpretive critical analysis to place Bock and Harnick in the context of these times, and helps establish their place in the history of the American musical theater.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Never before has the biographer of a great songwriting team enjoyed the full cooperation of both his subjects. As a result, Philip Lambert's To Broadway, To Life! The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick teems with rich detail, wonderful anecdotes, and astute insights into that most fascinating of artistic endeavors—the creation of a Broadway musical." —Philip Furia, University of North Carolina - Wilmington, and author of The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: A History of America's Greatest Lyricsts

"Philip Lambert's book offers fascinating insights into Bock and Harnick's musical creations, their geneses, inner workings, reception histories, and revivals. An important contribution to American musical theater scholarship."—William Everett, University of Missouri-Kansas City, contributing co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Musical

"Lambert eloquently reminds us that Bock and Harnick were much more than a single-hit sensation. This long overdue study gives their all-too-brief collaboration the serious treatment it deserves and in the process enriches our understanding of the traditional book musical during its last hurrah. Lambert helps us to contextualize Fiddler on the Roof within Bock and Harnick's career, which includes the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Fiorello and She Loves Me, the musical that other Broadway composers wished they had written." —James Leve, Northern Arizona University, and author of Kander and Ebb

"A valuable account...Recommended." —Choice

"Well written and well documented...This volume is as valuable as a resource on Broadway history as it is on the subjects themselves...It advances the scholarship on the musical during one of its most crucial periods." —Notes

"[Lambert] not only provides a vivid portrait of one of Broadway's most important and beloved teams, he also brings to life the process of constructing a score for the integrated book musicals of mid-century. To Broadway, To Life! is one more way the vital new Oxford University Press series, Broadway Legacies, is enlarging the field of musical theater studies." —Musica Judaica Online Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199328062
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/12/2013
  • Series: Broadway Legacies Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,427,023
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Lambert has published widely on twentieth-century music of diverse styles and traditions. His previous books are The Music of Charles Ives (1997), Ives Studies (1997), and Inside the Music of Brian Wilson (2007). He is Professor of Music at Baruch College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

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Table of Contents

Preface, with a Note on Sources and Acknowledgements
1. Suave Young Men: Creative Stirrings from Childhood through College
2. Wonders of Manhattan: Professional Beginnings in New York in the 1950s
3. Politics and Poker: The Body Beautiful and Fiorello! and the Late 1950s
4. Little Old New York: Tenderloin and the Early 1960s
5. To Broadway with Love: She Loves Me and the 1964 World's Fair
6. Tradition: Fiddler on the Roof
7. Here in Eden: The Mid-1960s and The Apple Tree
8. Have You Ever Seen a Prettier Little Congress?: The Late 1960s and The Rothschilds
9. Topsy Turvy: Separate Paths Since the Early 1970s
Appendix A: Chronology of Bock and Harnick on Broadway
Appendix B: Selected Media Resources
Endnotes
Selected Bibliography
Index

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