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The American Musical: And the Formation of National Identity

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The American Musical: And the Formation of National Identity Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 as Show Boat (1927), Porgy and Bess (1935), Oklahoma! (1943), West Side Story (1957), Hair (1967), Pacific Overtures (1976), and Assassins (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.

Synopsis:

"A stunningly original, breakthrough book whose contribution to musical scholarship will be substantial and exceptionally valuable. This book moves in directions I had never considered, forcing me to think about musicals in a truly fresh way. The author analyzes the music of this repertory in an ingenious (and highly readable) fashion that consistently illuminates connections to historical and critical ideas. It is thus the first book that succeeds in presenting the music of musical theater as a full-fledged cultural and artistic phenomenon, wholly justifying scholarly scrutiny. A brilliant analysis."--Rose Rosengard Subotnik, Brown University

"The most readable, focused, sustained and contextualized study of the genre I've encountered. The author's breadth, experience and reliability as a scholar and teacher shine through on every page."--Stephen Banfield, University of Bristol, UK

Synopsis:

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 as Show Boat (1927), Porgy and Bess (1935), Oklahoma! (1943), West Side Story (1957), Hair (1967), Pacific Overtures (1976), and Assassins (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.

About the Author

Raymond Knapp is Professor in the Department of Musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of "Symphonic Metamorposes: Subjectivity and Alienation in Mahler's Re-Cycled Songs and Brahms and the Challenge of the Symphony".

Table of Contents

List of Figures xi

Explanatory Note about Audio Examples xiii

Preface xv

Part One INTRODUCTIONS 1

Chapter 1: Contexts and Strategies 3

Chapter 2: Nineteenth-Century European Roots: Models and Topics 19

Paris (and Berlin) 20

The Black Crook (1866) 20

London: W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911) and Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) 29

H.M.S. Pinafore; or,The Lass That Loved a Sailor (1878) 34

Chapter 3: Early American Developments: Minstrelsy, Extravaganza, Pantomime, Burlesque, Vaudeville 47

Minstrelsy 49

Extravaganza 59

Pantomime 60

Burlesque 61

Vaudeville 62

A Gilbert and Sullivan Postscript on American Minstrelsy 63

Chapter 4: American Song through Tin Pan Alley 67

Minstrel Songs 67

The Early Tin Pan Alley Era 70

Classic Tin Pan Alley 77

Anything Goes (1934) 88

Part Two DEFINING AMERICA 101

Chapter 5: Whose (Who's) America? 103

Little Johnny Jones (1904) 104

The Cradle Will Rock (1938) 110

Chapter 6: American Mythologies 119

Oklahoma!(1943) 122

Guys and Dolls (1950) 134

The Music Man (1957) 144

Chapter 7: Counter-mythologies 153

Hair (1967-68) 154

Assassins (1991) 162

Part Three MANAGING AMERICA'S OTHERS 179

Chapter 8: Race and Ethnicity 181

Show Boat (1927) 185

Porgy and Bess (1935) 194

West Side Story (1957) 204

Fiddler on the Roof (1964) 215

Chapter 9: Dealing with the Second World War 228

The Sound of Music (1959) 230

Cabaret (1966) 239

Chapter 10: Exoticism 249

The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu (1885) 250

The King and I (1951) 261

Pacific Overtures (1976) 268

Chapter 11: Afterword: Other Directions, Other Identities 282

Appendix A: Art and Commerce: The Business of Making Musicals 285

Appendix B: Additional Resources 289

Notes 319

Bibliography 341

Index 351

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691126135
Author:
Knapp, Raymond
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
History & Criticism - General
Subject:
Genres & Styles - Musicals
Subject:
Theater - Broadway & Musical Revue
Subject:
Musicals
Subject:
Music
Subject:
American Language and Literature
Subject:
American literature
Subject:
Music-Popular Songbooks
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
March 2006
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 line illus. 33 halftones. 8 musical ex
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 19 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Musical Theater
Arts and Entertainment » Music » General
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Musicals
Arts and Entertainment » Music » History and Criticism
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

The American Musical: And the Formation of National Identity New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$36.75 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691126135 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "A stunningly original, breakthrough book whose contribution to musical scholarship will be substantial and exceptionally valuable. This book moves in directions I had never considered, forcing me to think about musicals in a truly fresh way. The author analyzes the music of this repertory in an ingenious (and highly readable) fashion that consistently illuminates connections to historical and critical ideas. It is thus the first book that succeeds in presenting the music of musical theater as a full-fledged cultural and artistic phenomenon, wholly justifying scholarly scrutiny. A brilliant analysis."--Rose Rosengard Subotnik, Brown University

"The most readable, focused, sustained and contextualized study of the genre I've encountered. The author's breadth, experience and reliability as a scholar and teacher shine through on every page."--Stephen Banfield, University of Bristol, UK

"Synopsis" by , 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 as Show Boat (1927), Porgy and Bess (1935), Oklahoma! (1943), West Side Story (1957), Hair (1967), Pacific Overtures (1976), and Assassins (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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