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Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and Musicals
Scott Miller

Northeastern University Press
2011 • 288 pp. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Theater & Performing Arts / Musicals

$24.95 Paperback, 978-1-55553-743-2
$85.00 Hardcover, 978-1-55553-742-5

$19.99 Ebook, 978-1-55553-761-6

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

(Cloth edition is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)

“The writing is compelling, whether you’ve seen the shows or not. Miller backs up his assertions with copious quotes from writers, actors, critics, lyrics and historians. In addition to everything else this book accomplishes, it functions as historical writing and an examination of morality.”Clayton-Richmond Heights

An endlessly entertaining and informative look at how musicals have both reflected and adapted to America’s changing mores

Eager to respond to the concerns and tastes of the increasingly influential baby-boomer generation, musical theater in the late 1960s began to embrace formerly taboo subjects—including the triumvirate of postwar social change: sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and Musicals shows how American culture has changed over the twentieth century, from the Roaring Twenties (The Wild Party) to the cultural chaos of the ’50s (Grease) and the sexual revolution of the ’60s (Hair) and ’70s (Rocky Horror), to the rebirth of the art form in the ’90s (Bat Boy), and up to the present, exploring where we’ve been and where we might be heading. This is a celebration of the counter-culture taking center stage in the most American of performing arts, and changing it forever.

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"Ferocious theatrical intelligence."—American Theatre

“Miller offers insightful commentary and perspectives on shows that all began as experimental and intensely challenging works, although some, such as Grease, Hair, and Jesus Christ Superstar, have in some ways entered the mainstream. Throughout, he challenges directors to return these shows to their subversive, groundbreaking roots and implores audiences to recognize the transgressive power inherent in musical theater.”—Notes


“Scott Miller is a theater sage. His thorough dissection of the genre and the shows he has chosen to represent it are great research opportunities for fledgling directors and actors alike who may be looking to build their backstories and character definition. Better yet, to fully understand what exactly it is they’re working on besides just a well crafted script and some great songs passed down from artist to artist. The more recreating performers and production teams have Scott’s level of understanding about where the original creative team came from, the stronger even the smallest theater company will become at making something new out of what’s been done before. Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and Musicals is a valuable addition to the world library of theater history & analysis.”—Doug Storm, original cast member of Bat Boy: The Musical

“Finally, someone who believes the American musical is not only alive and well but is growing and thriving in ways other observers may have missed. Scott Miller embraces the here and now of the art form and cries out ‘Hooray!’—or a more appropriate and less printable rock and roll interjection. Well, f_ _ _ yeah for Scott Miller!”—Andrew Lippa

SCOTT MILLER is the founder and artistic director of New Line Theatre, an alternative musical theater company in St. Louis, Missouri, and he has been writing, performing in, and directing musicals since 1981. He has written a number of books on musical theater, including Strike Up the Band, Let the Sun Shine In, Rebels with Applause, Deconstructing Harold Hill, and From Assassins to West Side Story.

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 09:41:24 -0500