Showtime by Larry Stempel
A History of the Broadway Musical Theater

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Synopsis

The definitive history of the Broadway musical: the shows, the stars, the movers, and the shakers.

Showtime brings the history of Broadway musicals to life in a narrative as engaging as the subject itself. Beginning with the scandalous Astor Place Opera House riot of 1849, Larry Stempel traces the growth of musicals from minstrel shows and burlesques, through the golden age of Show Boat and Oklahoma!, to such groundbreaking works as Company and Rent.

Stempel describes the Broadway stage with vivid accounts of the performers drawn to it, and detailed portraits of the creators who wrote the music, lyrics, and stories for its shows, both beloved and less well known. But Stempel travels outside the theater doors as well, to illuminate the wider world of musical theater as a living genre shaped by the forces of American history and culture. He reveals not only how musicals entertain their audiences but also how they serve as barometers of social concerns and bearers of cultural values.

Showtime is the culmination of decades of painstaking research on a genre whose forms have changed over the course of two centuries. In covering the expansive subject before him, Stempel combines original research—including a kaleidoscope of primary sources and archival holdings—with deft and insightful analysis. The result is nothing short of the most comprehensive, authoritative history of the Broadway musical yet published. 16 pages of four-color; 105 black-and-white illustrations
 

About Larry Stempel

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Larry Stempel , an associate professor of music at Fordham University and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, was a member of Lehman Engel's BMI Musical Theater Workshop. He lives in Mount Vernon, New York.
 
Published September 6, 2010 by W. W. Norton & Company. 848 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The author establishes useful distinctions between the revue, the musical play, opera on Broadway and the Broadway opera, and he crowns Guys and Dolls (1950) as musical comedy’s “masterpiece.” He takes swift glances at Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway and alternative musicals, with particular atten...

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The New York Times

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Yip Harburg, the lyricist who wrote “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” and “Over the Rainbow,” described popular songwriting as “the pulse of a nation’s heart, the fever chart of its health.” In “Showtime: A History of the Broadway Musical Theater,” Larry Stempel aims to arrest the nation’s pulse w...

Dec 03 2010 | Read Full Review of Showtime: A History of the Br...

Kirkus Reviews

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After two and a half decades, Larry Stempel has composed the first comprehensive history of one of the most shape-shifting, gluttonously consumed art forms—Broadway musical theater.

Dec 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Showtime: A History of the Br...

Christian Science Monitor

Norton & Company 826 pages $39.95 When a book about musical theater is called Showtime, you might expect a little razzle-dazzle.

Sep 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Showtime: A History of the Br...

The Bookbag

Summary: A big, weighty book covering the history of two centuries of Broadway musical theater (sic).

Oct 08 2010 | Read Full Review of Showtime: A History of the Br...

Bookmarks Magazine



Stempel describes the Broadway stage with vivid accounts of the performers drawn to it, and detailed portraits of the creators who wrote the music, lyrics, and stories for its shows, both beloved and less well known.

Sep 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Showtime: A History of the Br...

Project MUSE

Roughly chronological chapters explore the musical’s major forms, from variety and operetta, through musical comedy and revue, to the musical play and the concept musical.

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