Women in American Musical Theatre

Essays on Composers, Lyricists, Librettists, Arrangers, Choreographers, Designers, Directors, Producers and Performance Artists


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About the Book

Throughout the twentieth century women have made significant contributions to the creation of American musical theatre. Directing, choreographing, writing, arranging, producing and designing musicals in a variety of venues throughout America, women have played a significant role in shaping the development of musical theatre both on and off Broadway and in regional, educational, and community venues. The essays in this book examine the history of women in musical theatre, providing biographical descriptions of the women themselves; analyses and interpretations of their productions; and several accounts of how being a woman affected the artists’ careers.
Topics include the similarities among the careers of successful but neglected lyricists Rida Johnson Young, Anne Caldwell, and Dorothy Donnelly; the Depression-era productions of Hallie Flanagan and Cheryl Crawford; the transformation of the classic “showgirl” image through the dances and stage movement created by prominent female choreographers; and a survey of numerical data highlighting the discrepancy between the number of men versus the number of women hired to direct professional musical productions in various venues across the United States.

About the Author(s)

Bud Coleman is chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Colorado at Boulder. A former dancer with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Fort Worth Ballet, Kinesis, and Ballet Austin, he has directed and choreographed numerous musical productions.
Judith A. Sebesta is Executive Director of the Institute for Competency-Based Education at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Bud Coleman and Judith A. Sebesta
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 292
Bibliographic Info: 23 photos, tables, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3382-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0727-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Introduction      1

“Will You Remember”: Female Lyricists of Operetta and Musical Comedy Korey R. Rothman      9
Hallie Flanagan and Cheryl Crawford: Women Pioneer Producers of the 1930s Barbara Means Fraser      34
Twentieth-Century Women Choreographers: Refining and Redefining the Showgirl Image Anna Wheeler Gentry      57
A Composer in Her Own Right: Arrangers, Musical Directors and Conductors Jennifer Jones Cavenaugh      77
Working with the Boys: Women Who Wrote Musicals in the Golden Age Gary Konas      92
Designing Women Tish Dace      130
Helburn, Dalrymple, and Lortel: A Triumvirate of Great Producers Bud Coleman      155
“Open a New Window, Open a New Door”: Women Directors Take the Stage Anne Fliotsos      174
Social Consciousness and the “Search for New Directions”: The Musicals of Gretchen Cryer, Nancy Ford, and Elizabeth Swados Judith Sebesta      200
The Rise of the Female Director/Choreographer on Broadway Mary Jo Lodge      221
From Revolution to Revelation: Women Performance Artists and the Transformation of American Musical Theatre Woodrow Hood      244
Contributors      263
Index      267

Book Reviews & Awards

“valuable information…excellent…recommended for all public and academic library collections…a must purchase for all scholars of American musical theater”—ARBA.