Broadway Musicals

A Hundred Year History

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About the Book

Musicals have been a major part of American theater for many years, and nowhere have they been more loved and celebrated than Broadway, the theater capital of the world. The music of such composers as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Berlin, the Gershwin brothers, Lerner and Loewe, Steven Sondheim, and Andrew Lloyd Webber continues to run through people’s minds, and such productions as South Pacific, Cats, My Fair Lady, The Phantom of the Opera, Guys and Dolls, Rent, and West Side Story remain at the top of Broadway’s most popular productions.
This book is a survey of Broadway musicals all through the 20th century, from the Tin Pan Alley–driven comedy works of the early part of the century, to the integrated musical plays that flourished in the heyday years of midcentury, and to the rock era, concept musicals, and the arrival of British mega-musicals late in the century. It also profiles some of the theater world’s leading composers, writers, and directors, considers some of the most unforgettable and forgettable shows, illustrates the elusive fragility of the libretto, explains the compensating nature of production elements, and examines representative shows from every decade. An extensive discography offers a brief critique of more than 300 show cast albums.

About the Author(s)

David H. Lewis has written articles for Variety, The Christian Science Monitor, and Skate, among others, and is currently at work on the book and lyrics for a new musical comedy. He lives in California.

Bibliographic Details

David H. Lewis
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 258
Bibliographic Info: photos, discography, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1269-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8114-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface     1

1 Songs in Revolt     5

2 Misery’s Coming Around     18

3 Lyrical Courage      32

4 On to the Hit Parade     49

5 Cockeyed Optimists     58

6 Fie on Goodness!      71

7 The Age of Abbott      84

8 Your Own Thang      95

9 The Roads He Didn’t Take      108

10 What They Did for Love      120

11 Muddy Concepts      129

12 Sir Musical      140

13 A Helicopter Lands     149

14 Desperate Openings     161

15 Revival Roulette      172

16 Cirque du Disney     183

17 Long Ago and Far Ahead     194

Discography     01

Notes      229

Bibliography      239

Index      241

Book Reviews & Awards

“this is a compelling and engrossing book”—Stage Directions Magazine; “straightforward, well-researched history”—Theatre Topics; “highly recommended”—Broadside; “A fun, informative and necessary read for any lover of Broadway…immensely enjoyable”—Bud Wilkinson Host, Broadway’s Biggest Hits.