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BIC Excellence Award

Approaches To The American Musical

Edited by Robert Lawson-Peebles

Approaches To The American Musical
Paperback, 176 pages £20.00
Published: 1996
ISBN: 9780859894050
Format: 229mm x 144mm
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Subjects: Cultural and Social Studies, Performance

Most books on the American musical are little more than exercises in nostalgia. The specially commissioned essays that make up Approaches to the American Musical take a different view of the form. Going beyond the common assertion that musicals are simply escapist; these examinations of American stage and film musicals argue that Porgy and Bess, Top Hat, Kiss Me Kate and All That Jazz were popular precisely because they engaged with such important American issues as ethnicity, commerce and international relations.

Contributions by
Stephen Banfield, Ann-Charlotte Hanes Harvey, David Horn, Robert Lawson-Peebles, Wilfrid Mellers, Sue Rickard, Carey Wall and Ralph Willett

Copyright Acknowledgements

Notes on Contributors

1. Introduction.  Cultural Musicology and the American Musical, Robert Lawson-Peebles

2. From Butterfly to Saigon - Europe, America and "Success", Wilfrid Mellers

3. There's No Business like Show Business - a Speculative Reading of the Broadway Musical, Carey Wall

4. From Gold Diggers to Bar Girls - a Selective History of the American Movie Musical, Ralph Willett

5. Holy Yumpin' Yiminy Scandinavian Immigrant Stereotypes in Early 20th Century American Musical, Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey

6. Movies in Disguise - Negotiating Censorship and Patriarchy Through the Dances of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Sue Rickard

7. Brush Up Your Shakespeare, Robert Lawson-Peebles

8. Who Loves You Porgy? The Debates Surrounding Gershwin's Musical, David Horn

9. "West Side Story" Revisited, Wilfrid Mellers

10. Sondheim and the Art that has No Name, Stephen Banfield


Robert Lawson-Peebles is Senior Lecturer in the School of English and American Studies, University of Exeter. His research field is transatlantic cultural relations, from pre-Columbian times until the present. He has published three books including American environmental history: a monograph, Landscape and Written Expression in Revolutionary America (1988), and two collections of original essays co-edited with Professor Mick Gidley (now of Leeds University), Downloads of American Landscapes (1989) and Modern American Landscapes (1995). He has also published essays on, amongst others, George Washington, Susannah Rowson, James Fenimore Cooper, Henry George, and William Carlos Williams. His interests include American performance arts, and he has published an introductory essay on the subject, an article on the impact of the Second World War on Hollywood versions of English novels, and an edited collection of original essays, Approaches to the American Musical (1996). He is currently working on an account of the impact of American culture on Britain between 1900 and 1968.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 176 pages
 229mm x 144mm

BIC Code:
  MUS046000, SOC002010
 University of Exeter Press


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