The American Musical: Evolution of an Art Form

The American Musical: Evolution of an Art Form

by Ben West
The American Musical: Evolution of an Art Form

The American Musical: Evolution of an Art Form

by Ben West


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The American Musical is a comprehensive history of an American art form. It delivers a detailed and definitive portrait of the American musical’s artistic evolution over the course of seven distinct, newly defined eras, with a unique perspective gleaned from research at more than twenty different archives across the United States.

Individual in both its approach and coverage, The American Musical traces the form’s creative journey from its 19th century beginnings, through its 20th century maturation, and to the turn of the 21st century, shedding new light on a myriad of authors, directors, and craftspeople who worked on Broadway and beyond. This book actively addresses the form’s often overlooked female and African-American artists, provides an in-depth accounting of such outside influences as minstrelsy, vaudeville, nightclubs, and burlesque, and explores the dynamic relationship between the form and the consciousness of its country.

The American Musical is a fascinating and insightful read for students, artists, and afficionados of the American musical, and anyone with an interest in this singular form of entertainment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780367556594
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 04/01/2024
Pages: 392
Sales rank: 800,996
Product dimensions: 6.88(w) x 9.69(h) x (d)

About the Author

Ben West is a musical theatre artist and historian. He has worked in various capacities on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally, and created and directed Unsung Carolyn Leigh for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Inventions, Influences, and Imports (1800s) 1. Minstrelsy 2. The Variety Show 3. The Legitimate Musical Stage 4. Ragtime and Coon Songs Part 2: Birth of an Art Form (1900-1924) 5. Vaudeville, Part One: Time and Talent 6. Vaudeville, Part Two: Tin Pan Alley 7. Vaudeville, Part Three: Sketches and Tabs 8. Burlesque 9. Bob Cole and the Black Musical Stage 10. The Early Musical Comedy 11. Revue 12. The Great Winter Garden Factory 13. The Hippodrome Shows 14. The Spectacular Musical Play 15. American Operetta 16. The Princess Musicals 17. Nightclubs, Part One: Folies Bergère, etc. 18. The Great War, Prohibition, and Women’s Suffrage 19. Jazz, Part One: The Musicians 20. Jazz, Part Two: The Musicals 21. The New Musical Comedy 22. Shuffle Along and the Black Renaissance Part 3: Intensification (1925-1930) 23. Nightclubs, Part Two: The Plantation, etc. 24. Pleasure Bound 25. Howard Dietz and the New Revue 26. Jazz Age Musical Comedy, Part One: The Tunersmiths 27. Jazz Age Musical Comedy, Part Two: The Adventurers 28. Oscar Hammerstein II and the Musical Play Part 4: Convention, or Maturity, Part One: Craft and Construction (1931-1950) 29. Sophisticated Revue 30. The Sophisticated Musical Stage 31. Nightclubs, Part Three: Casino de Paree, etc. 32. The African-American Exit 33. Hollywood and the Popular Song 34. The Second World War 35. Integrated Folktales 36. The Musical Comedy Stage 37. The Abbott Touch 38. Guys and Dolls Part 5: Convention, or Maturity, Part Two: Style and Structure (1951-1970) 39. Character and Quirks and Comedy and Farce 40. The New Musical Play 41. Staging and Story 42. Nontraditional Storytelling 43. Hair vs. Your Own Thing 44. Off-Broadway Part 6: Diminution (1971-1980) 45. Nostalgia, Revivals, and Reinventions 46. The All-Purpose Revue 47. The African-American Resurgence 48. Contemporary Sounds, Part One: Andrew Lloyd Webber, etc. 49. A Chorus Line 50. Sophisticated Storytelling Part 7: Growing Pains, or Identity Crisis (1981-1999) 51. Dialogue, Song, and Dance 52. George C. Wolfe and the Black Musical Stage 53. Contemporary Sounds, Part Two: Jonathan Larson, etc. 54. Revivals 55. Miscellany

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