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Making Americans : Jews and the Broadway Musical (04 Edition)

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Making Americans : Jews and the Broadway Musical (04 Edition) Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Most's book, which eschews innuendo and mudslinging in favor of theory and nuanced interpretation, takes the often silly stuff of musical comedy very seriously indeed. A world away from backstage gossip, it offers readers a series of carefully considered case studies of what she takes to be the deeper, darker meaning of some of America's most beloved theatrical productions....Most seems very pleased with the shocking novelty of her insights, but her analysis is not nearly as new as she thinks it is." Jenna Weissman Joselit, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

From 1925 to 1951 — three chaotic decades of depression, war, and social upheaval — Jewish writers brought to the musical stage a powerfully appealing vision of America fashioned through song and dance. It was an optimistic, meritocratic, selectively inclusive America in which Jews could at once lose and find themselves — assimilation enacted onstage and off, as Andrea Most shows. This book examines two interwoven narratives crucial to an understanding of twentieth-century American culture: the stories of Jewish acculturation and of the development of the American musical. Here we delve into the work of the most influential artists of the genre during the years surrounding World War II — Irving Berlin, Eddie Cantor, Dorothy and Herbert Fields, George and Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein, Lorenz Hart, and Richard Rodgers — and encounter new interpretations of classics such as The Jazz Singer, Whoopee, Girl Crazy, Babes in Arms, Oklahoma!, Annie Get Your Gun, South Pacific, and The King and I. Most's analysis reveals how these brilliant composers, librettists, and performers transformed the experience of New York Jews into the grand, even sacred acts of being American. Read in the context of memoirs, correspondence, production designs, photographs, and newspaper clippings, the Broadway musical clearly emerges as a form by which Jewish artists negotiated their entrance into secular American society. In this book we see how the communities these musicals invented and the anthems they popularized constructed a vision of America that fostered self-understanding as the nation became a global power.

Review:

"For lovers of musical comedy as well as those interested in Jewish contributions to the cultural life of America, this well-researched effort is an invaluable read." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"I think I argued with the author, Andrea Most, on just about every page of Making Americans and came away richer for the experience. What a stimulating book!" Sheldon Harnick, author of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof

Review:

"Andrea Most's book makes the case for the core of the American musical. She outlines and illustrates how specific images of difference are translated, flattened, and transformed to create an America in which the ethnic becomes American. What 'becoming American" means — she shows with intelligence and panache — changes from the 1920s to the 1950s. And she illustrates this change with singular ability based on readings of the major musicals of the day." Sander Gilman, author of Jewish Frontiers and Jewish Self-Hatred

Review:

"It has been long understood that the classic musical is virtually a Jewish-American art form, and Most lays the historical and theoretical foundations for this understanding with expert authority." Stephen Banfield, author of Sondheim's Broadway Musicals

Synopsis:

This book examines two interwoven narratives crucial to an understanding of twentieth-century American culture: the stories of Jewish acculturation and of the development of the American musical. Here we delve into the work of the most influential artists of the genre during the years surrounding World War II and encounter new interpretations of classics such as The Jazz Singer, Babes in Arms, Oklahoma!, Annie Get Your Gun, South Pacific, and The King and I. We see how the communities these musicals invented and the anthems they popularized constructed a vision of America that fostered self-understanding as the nation became a global power.

Synopsis:

2005 Kurt Weill Book Prize, Kurt Weill Foundation for Music

About the Author

Andrea Most is Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto.

University of Toronto

Table of Contents

  • Overture
  • 1. Acting American: Jews, Theatricality, and Modernity
  • 2. Cantors’ Sons, Jazz Singers, and Indian Chiefs: The Invention of Ethnicity on the Musical Comedy Stage
  • 3. Babes in Arms: The Politics of Theatricality during the Great Depression
  • 4. “We Know We Belong to the Land”: The Theatricality of Assimilation in Oklahoma!
  • 5. The Apprenticeship of Annie Oakley: Or, “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly”
  • 6. “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”: The Politics of Race in South Pacific
  • Coda: “I Whistle a Happy Tune”
  • Notes
  • Credits
  • Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674011656
Author:
Most, Andrea
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge, Mass.
Subject:
Jews
Subject:
Music
Subject:
Broadway & Musical Revue
Subject:
Musicals
Subject:
Genres & Styles - Musicals
Subject:
Theater - Broadway & Musical Revue
Subject:
Musicals -- United States.
Subject:
Jews -- United States -- Music.
Subject:
Drama-Musical Theater
Subject:
Social Science-Ethnic Studies - General
Subject:
RELIGION / Judaism/General
Copyright:
Series Volume:
22
Publication Date:
February 2004
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
28 halftones, 2 line illustrations
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 20 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Musical Theater
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Musicals
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Sheet Music » Popular Songbooks

Making Americans : Jews and the Broadway Musical (04 Edition) Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$34.00 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674011656 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Most's book, which eschews innuendo and mudslinging in favor of theory and nuanced interpretation, takes the often silly stuff of musical comedy very seriously indeed. A world away from backstage gossip, it offers readers a series of carefully considered case studies of what she takes to be the deeper, darker meaning of some of America's most beloved theatrical productions....Most seems very pleased with the shocking novelty of her insights, but her analysis is not nearly as new as she thinks it is." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review" by , "For lovers of musical comedy as well as those interested in Jewish contributions to the cultural life of America, this well-researched effort is an invaluable read."
"Review" by , "I think I argued with the author, Andrea Most, on just about every page of Making Americans and came away richer for the experience. What a stimulating book!"
"Review" by , "Andrea Most's book makes the case for the core of the American musical. She outlines and illustrates how specific images of difference are translated, flattened, and transformed to create an America in which the ethnic becomes American. What 'becoming American" means — she shows with intelligence and panache — changes from the 1920s to the 1950s. And she illustrates this change with singular ability based on readings of the major musicals of the day."
"Review" by , "It has been long understood that the classic musical is virtually a Jewish-American art form, and Most lays the historical and theoretical foundations for this understanding with expert authority."
"Synopsis" by , This book examines two interwoven narratives crucial to an understanding of twentieth-century American culture: the stories of Jewish acculturation and of the development of the American musical. Here we delve into the work of the most influential artists of the genre during the years surrounding World War II and encounter new interpretations of classics such as The Jazz Singer, Babes in Arms, Oklahoma!, Annie Get Your Gun, South Pacific, and The King and I. We see how the communities these musicals invented and the anthems they popularized constructed a vision of America that fostered self-understanding as the nation became a global power.
"Synopsis" by , 2005 Kurt Weill Book Prize, Kurt Weill Foundation for Music
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