From the silver screen to the Great White Way, small community theatres to television sets, the musical has long held a special place in America's heart and history. Now, in The Oxford Companion to the American Musical, readers who flocked to the movies to see An American in Paris or Chicago, lined up for tickets to West Side Story or Rent, or crowded around their TVs to watch Cinderella or High School Musical can finally turn to a single book for details about them all. For the first time, this popular subject has an engaging and authoritative book as thrilling as the performances themselves.
With more than two thousand entries, this illustrated guide offers a wealth of information on musicals, performers, composers, lyricists, producers, choreographers, and much more. Biographical entries range from early stars Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Mary Martin, and Mae West to contemporary show-stoppers Nathan Lane, Savion Glover, and Kristin Chenoweth, while composers Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, and Andrew Lloyd Webber all have articles, and the choreography of Bob Fosse, Tommy Tune, and Debbie Allen receives due examination. The plays and films covered range from modern hits like Mamma Mia! and Moulin Rouge! to timeless classics such as Yankee Doodle Dandy and Show Boat. Also, numerous musicals written specifically for television appear throughout, and many entries follow a work-Babes in Toyland for example-as it moves across genres, from stage, to film, to television. The Companion also includes cross references, a comprehensive listing of recommended recordings and further reading, a useful chronology of all the musicals described in the book, plus a complete index of Tony Award and Academy Award winners.
Whether you are curious about Singin' in the Rain or Spamalot, or simply adore The Wizard of Oz or Grease, this well-researched and entertaining resource is the first place to turn for reliable information on virtually every aspect of the American musical.
American musicals have achieved and maintained great importance to the American public more than any other performance art. This is an impressive single-volume source targeting this beloved American form. Written by Hischak (SUNY at Cortland), who is highly regarded in the performing arts field, having published 20 plays and 16 books on film and theater, the resource takes a close look at the entire history of American musical theater, from modern hits like Spamalot and Rent to the ageless classics like Oklahoma, with insightful information on productions, composers, choreographers, directors, lyricists, musicians, and performers. The more than 2000 A-to-Z entries are brief (approximately half a page long) but give a detailed, accurate overview. They run the gamut, beginning with Alex Aarons, producer of musicals by the famed Gershwins, to George Zucco, a British character actor specializing in mad scientists and sinister henchmen. Clever icons are inserted next to the title of the entries to indicate stage work, film, or television. The author discusses not only major musicals like The Lion King and people like George Cohan but also less important subjects, e.g., Paleface(1948), whose lively tunes made the film, proving the broad scope of American musicals.