Although the venue Off Broadway has long been the birthplace of innovative and popular musicals, there have been few studies of these influential works. Long-running champs, such asThe Fantasticks and Little Shop of Horrors, are discussed in many books about American musicals, but what of the hundreds of other Off-Broadway musicals?
In Off-Broadway Musicals since 1919, Thomas Hischak looks at more than 375 musicals, which are described, discussed, and analyzed, with particular attention given to their books, scores, performers, and creators. Presented chronologically and divided into chapters for each decade, beginning with the landmark musicalGreenwich Village Follies (1919), the book culminates with the satiricThe Toxic Avenger (2009).
In this volume, any work of consequence is covered, especially if it was popular or influential, but also dozens of more obscure musicals are included to illustrate the depth and breadth of Off Broadway. Works that introduced an important artistic talent, from performers to songwriters, are looked at, and the selection represents the various trends and themes that made Off Broadway significant. In addition to essential data about each musical, the plot and score are described, the success (or lack of) is chronicled, and an opinionated commentary discusses the work's merits and influences on the musical theatre in general. The first book of its kind, this highly readable volume will please both the theatre scholar and the average musical theatre patron or fan.
In this needed complement to Larry Stempel's recent Showtime: A History of the Broadway Musical Theatre, Hischak (theater, SUNY at Cortland; Theatre as Human Action: An Introduction to Theatre Arts) surveys nearly 400 musicals, providing opening dates, authors, composers, and cast members. The synopses are concise and informative and, occasionally and enjoyably, snarky (do not invite him to your theater's production of Nunsense or any of its sequels). For the musical-obsessed and the libraries that love them, an appendix listing recordings (LP, CD, and DVD) is provided, together with a brief bibliography. Hischak explains that off-Broadway musicals offer "a more direct kind of music, dance, and comedy" than Broadway shows and often display a more direct connection to the times through music in a more intimate forum. Verdict: Your catalogers may be tempted to place this book in the reference section, but it needs to circulate because patrons will want to take it home to make lists of shows to discover, from Alfred Brooks and Ira J. Bilowit's 1958 Of Mice and Men to Menopause: The Musical. An essential purchase. Library Journal, Starred Review The text opens with an alphabetic list of Off-Broadway musicals starting with A ... My Name is Alice and ending with Zombies from Beyond. There follows a chronological year-by-year listing of Off-Broadway musicals. This is followed by an opening general historical essay and is in turn followed by a chronological decade-by-decade list of the Off-Broadway. This volume concludes with an alphabetic guide to recordings of the musicals, a bibliography, and a name and production index. These are preceded by a postscript in which the author bemoans the future of Off-Broadway theater because its very success is destroying it through roadway transfers as well as actors being recruited by cinema and television as a consequence of their off-Broadway recognition... With excellent writing making it difficult to put down Off-Broadway Musicals is a fun read for both scholars and fans. American Reference Books Annual
|Introduction: Much More||p. ix|
|Alphabetical List of Off-Broadway Musicals||p. xiii|
|Chronological List of Off-Broadway Musicals||p. xxiii|
|Broadway's Stepchild: Beginnings||p. 1|
|A New Arena: The 1950s||p. 25|
|Too Loud Not to Notice: The 1960s||p. 57|
|Threat of Extinction: The 1970s||p. 123|
|A New Face: The 1980s||p. 181|
|Battling the Big Bucks: The 1990s||p. 255|
|Fodder for Broadway: The 2000s||p. 319|
|Appendix: Guide to Recordings||p. 403|
|About the Author||p. 469|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 522
Published: 18th February 2011
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.0 x 16.4 x 4.1
Weight (kg): 0.94