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The Rise and Fall of the Broadway Musical
Mark Grant

2004 • 380 pp. 23 illus. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Musicals / Theater & Performing Arts / American History

$25.95 Paperback, 978-1-55553-642-8

“In scholarly yet readable prose, studded with revealing examples, Grant treats changes in singing, lyrics, music, and dance, and the introduction of microphones and sound enhancement. Grant’s documentation demonstrates a find command of the literature, and he furnishes an excellent bibliography. Essential.”—Choice

A highly original, incisive, and spirited examination of the rise, heyday, and decline of American musical theatre

Many of today’s Broadway shows, from Rent to The Lion King, have become commercial hits, but do they have the cultural importance or the dramatic and musical artistry of such enduring productions as Oklahoma!, Show Boat, or Kiss Me, Kate?

Mark N. Grant traces the transformation of singing and melody, libretto and lyric writing, dance rhythms, sound design, and choreography and stage direction through three distinct eras: the formative period (1866–1927), the golden age (1927–1966), and the fall (1967 to the present). He explores how and why the unsophisticated genre of pre-1927 musical comedy evolved into the creative, innovative, and immensely popular theatre produced by the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein and then steadily faded as a significant entertainment genre in American culture, giving rise to the “McMusicals” of today.

This provocative, sometimes irreverent work offers a refreshing perspective on the history of American musical theatre and provides strong views on restoring the genre to its former greatness.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements:

“What makes Grant’s book well worth reading is his thoughtful, multipronged analysis of the Golden Age musicals.”—Current Musicology

"A serious, provocative dissection of tuners . . . a well researched, scholarly and opinionated book of regrets and hopes." The Hour (Norwalk, CT)

“The most important and provocative book on musical theatre in more than a decade . . . a must-read for anyone who cares about Broadway musicals, a book that will be discussed for years to come.” John Kenrick,

“Ambitious, generally fascinating, and often provocative . . . an astounding addition to the literature on the American musical . . . I enthusiastically recommend this book to people who take musicals seriously.” —Alan Gomberg, Talkin’ Broadway

“The most thoughtful and compelling of any I have ever read.” Gerald Bordman, author of The American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle

MARK N. GRANT is a composer and writer. His concert music and theater pieces have been performed in the United States and Europe. He is the author of Maestros of the Pen: A History of Classical Music Criticism in America. He lives in New York City.

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 14:14:51 -0500