American Musical Theatre

American Musical Theatre : A Chronicle

4.33 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
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The American musical is this country's greatest contribution to the theater. With the publication of American Musical Theatre, Bordman has made available the definitive reference work on this original American art form. Beginning with an introductory chapter on our lyric stage before 1866, Bordman covers every musical that has ever opened on Broadway, offering a plot synopsis and a description of the physical production of each. In addition, the book contains numerous biographies of actors, song writers, librettists, and producers. Three comprehensive indexes provide easy access to the wealth of material in the book. For the paperback edition, Bordman has added a new section on the most recent Broadway more

Product details

  • Paperback | 816 pages
  • 190.5 x 233.68 x 38.1mm | 1,383.45g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0195040457
  • 9780195040456

Review Text

Rarely does the reference-book mentality go hand in hand with any degree of critical acumen, so it's a pleasure to report that this awesome research project is invested with a fair measure of discrimination. Bordman has documented, summarized, and described in some detail every Broadway musical (and a few off-Broadway biggies like The Fantasticks) since the late 18th century - before there was a Broadway. Interspersed among these season-by-season, show-by-show entries are mini-biographies of important writers, directors, and performers. Such a format doesn't leave much room for overview history, but Bordman does try to spot trends, separate hacks from geniuses, comment on profit margins or the influence of critics, and correct prevalent oversimplifications ("it can seriously be questioned whether The Black Crook was the beginning of musical comedy in America"). More consistently, he singles out the distinctive songs from each score, wisely taking close guidance from Alec Wilder's American Popular Song for the 1900-1950 period. Bordman is weakest on the steadily deteriorating post-1950 era, lapsing into fatuous social history (parallels between Vietnam and the decline of musical comedy) and - without Wilder to guide him - failing to spot some of the inspired songs from uninspired shows. Still, if there must be constant additions to the top-heavy world of musical-comedy scholarship, let them be as graceful and tasteful as this one. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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6 ratings
4.33 out of 5 stars
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4 33% (2)
3 17% (1)
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