Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theatre

Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theatre

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Ethan Mordden has been hailed as qa sharp-eared listener and a discerning critic, q by Opera News, which compares his books to qdinner with a knowledgeable, garrulous companion.q The qpreeminent historian of the American musicalq (New York Times), he qbrings boundless energy and enthusiasm buttressed by an arsenal of smart anecdotesq (Wall Street Journal). Now Mordden offers an entirely fresh and infectiously delightful history of American musical theatre. Anything Goes stages a grand revue of the musical from the 1700s through to the present day, narrated in Mordden's famously witty, scholarly, and conversational style. He places us in a bare rehearsal room as the cast of Oklahoma! changes history by psychoanalyzing the plot in the greatest of the musical's many Dream Ballets. And he gives us tickets for orchestra seats on opening night-raising the curtain on the pleasures of Victor Herbert's The Red Mill and the thrill of Porgy and Bess. Mordden examines the music, of course, but also more neglected elements. Dance was once considered as crucial as song; he follows it from the nineteenth century's zany hoofing to tap qcombinationsq of the 1920s, from the injection of ballet and modern dance in the 1930s and '40s to the innovations of Bob Fosse. He also explores the changing structure of musical comedy and operetta, and the evolution of the role of the star. Fred Stone, the avuncular Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, seldom varied his acting from part to part; but the versatile Ethel Merman turned the headlining role inside out in Gypsy, playing a character who was selfish, fierce, and destructive. From qballad operaq to burlesque, from Fiddler on the Roof to Rent, the history and lore of the musical unfolds here in a performance worthy of a standing ovation.collaboration because, too often at this time, the songs and the script were created at a remove from each other, the two separate ... This explains how Oscar Hammerstein emerged as the most influential of the musicala#39;s wordsmiths: working on both book and lyrics, he could ... titles were authentic Gershwin shows, Lady, Be Good! and Funny THE STRUCTURE OF TWENTIES MUSICAL COMEDY (115)

Title:Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theatre
Author:Ethan Mordden
Publisher:Oxford University Press - 2013-08-08


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