The American musical has a rich and expansive history reaching back to the 1800s. Musical theater artist and historian Ben West details and dissects the evolution of this uniquely American art form, including its maturation in the middle of the 20th century; its often overlooked Black and female artists; and its outside influences such as minstrelsy, vaudeville, nightclubs, and burlesque.
A few of the many shows, artists, and topics touched on include the Plantation, a Broadway nightclub in the 1920s that featured Josephine Baker, Duke Ellington, Florence Mills, and Ethel Waters; Your Own Thing, a 1968 adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night with original rock music; Howard Dietz, a sketch writer and lyricist who built groundbreaking revues in the 1920s and ‘30s; and Gower Champion, the director and choreographer whose shows included Bye Bye Birdie and Hello, Dolly!
West’s book, The American Musical (Routledge), is available for purchase.
Book Sale Information
- Purchase your copy of The American Musical by Ben West here.
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