American Musical And the Formation of National Identity

ISBN-10: 0691126135

ISBN-13: 9780691126135

Edition: 2006

Authors: Raymond Knapp

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The American musical has achieved and maintained relevance to more people in America than any other performance-based art. This thoughtful history of the genre, intended for readers of all stripes, offers probing discussions of how American musicals, especially through their musical numbers, advance themes related to American national identity. Written by a musicologist and supported by a wealth of illustrative audio examples (on the book's website), the book examines key historical antecedents to the musical, including the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, nineteenth and early twentieth-century American burlesque and vaudeville, Tin Pan Alley, and other song types. It then proceeds thematically, focusing primarily on fifteen mainstream shows from the twentieth century, with discussions of such notable productions asShow Boat(1927),Porgy and Bess(1935),Oklahoma!(1943),West Side Story(1957),Hair(1967),Pacific Overtures(1976), andAssassins(1991). The shows are grouped according to their treatment of themes that include defining America, mythologies, counter-mythologies, race and ethnicity, dealing with World War II, and exoticism. Each chapter concludes with a brief consideration of available scholarship on related subjects; an extensive appendix provides information on each show discussed, including plot summaries and song lists, and a listing of important films, videos, audio recordings, published scores, and libretti associated with each musical.
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Book details

List price: $29.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 4/16/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.386

List of Figures
Explanatory Note about Audio Examples
Contexts and Strategies
Nineteenth-Century European Roots: Models and Topics
Paris (and Berlin)
The Black Crook (1866)
London: W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911) and Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
H.M.S. Pinafore; or, The Lass That Loved a Sailor (1878)
Early American Developments: Minstrelsy, Extravaganza, Pantomime, Burlesque, Vaudeville
A Gilbert and Sullivan Postscript on American Minstrelsy
American Song through Tin Pan Alley
Minstrel Songs
The Early Tin Pan Alley Era
Classic Tin Pan Alley
Anything Goes (1934)
Defining America
Whose (Who's) America?
Little Johnny Jones (1904)
The Cradle Will Rock (1938)
American Mythologies
Guys and Dolls (1950)
The Music Man (1957)
Hair (1967-68)
Assassins (1991)
Managing America's Others
Race and Ethnicity
Show Boat (1927)
Porgy and Bess (1935)
West Side Story (1957)
Fiddler on the Roof (1964)
Dealing with the Second World War
The Sound of Music (1959)
Cabaret (1966)
The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu (1885)
The King and I (1951)
Pacific Overtures (1976)
Afterword: Other Directions, Other Identities
Art and Commerce: The Business of Making Musicals
Additional Resources
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