The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical

ISBN : 9780190943516

Robert Gordon; Olaf Jubin
776 Pages
171 x 243 mm
Pub date
Apr 2019
Oxford Handbooks
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The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical provides a comprehensive academic survey of British musical theatre offering both a historical account of the musical's development from 1728 and a range of in-depth critical analyses of the unique forms and features of British musicals, which explore the aesthetic values and sociocultural meanings of a tradition that initially gave rise to the American musical and later challenged its modern pre-eminence.
After a consideration of how John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728) created a prototype for eighteenth-century ballad opera, the book focuses on the use of song in early nineteenth century theatre, followed by a sociocultural analysis of the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan; it then examines Edwardian and interwar musical comedies and revues as well as the impact of Rodgers and Hammerstein on the West End, before analysing the new forms of the postwar British musical from The Boy Friend (1953) to Oliver! (1960). One section of the book examines the contributions of key twentieth century figures including Noel Coward, Ivor Novello, Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Joan Littlewood and producer Cameron Macintosh, while a number of essays discuss both mainstream and alternative musicals of the 1960s and 1970s and the influence of the pop industry on the creation of concept recordings such as Jesus Christ Superstar (1970) and Les Miserables (1980). There is a consideration of "jukebox" musicals such as Mamma Mia! (1999), while essays on overtly political shows such as Billy Elliot (2005) are complemented by those on experimental musicals like Jerry Springer: the Opera (2003) and London Road (2011) and on the burgeoning of Black and Asian British musicals in both the West End and subsidized venues.
The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical demonstrates not only the unique qualities of British musical theatre but also the vitality and variety of British musicals today.


I. Britannia Rules: the Early British Musical and Society
Chapter 1. Ballad Opera: Commercial Song in Enlightenment Garb
Berta Joncus
Chapter 2. Between Opera and Musical: Theatre Music in Early Nineteenth-Century London
Christina Fuhrmann
Chapter 3. Comic Opera: English Society in Gilbert and Sullivan
Carolyn Williams
Chapter 4. English Musical Comedy, 1890-1924
Stephen Banfield
Chapter 5. English West End Revue: World War I and after
David Linton
II. British or American: Artistic Differences
Chapter 6. Musical Comedy in the 1920s and 1930s: Mr. Cinders and Me and My Girl as Class-
Conscious Carnival
George Burrows
Chapter 7. West End Royalty: Ivor Novello and English Operetta, 1917-1951
Stewart Nicholls
Chapter 8. The American Invasion: the Impact of Oklahoma! and Annie Get Your Gun
Dominic Symonds
Chapter 9. Ordinary People and British Musicals of the Post-War Decade
John Snelson
III. New Approaches to Form and Subject Matter
Chapter 10. After Anger: the British Musical of the late 1950s
Elizabeth Wells
Chapter 11. I'm Common and I Like 'Em: Representations of Class in the Period Musical after
Ben Francis
Chapter 12. Towards a British Concept Musical: the Shows of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse
David Cottis
Chapter 13. The Pop Music Industry and the British musical
Ian Sapiro
IV. The British Are Coming!
Chapter 14. Everybody's Free to Fail: Subsidized British Revivals of the American Canon
Sarah Browne
Chapter 15. Les Miserables: from Epic Novel to Epic Musical
Kathryn M. Grossman and Bradley Stephens
Chapter 16. Humming the Sets: Scenography and the Spectacular Musical from Cats to The Lord
of the Rings
Christine White
Chapter 17. Billy Elliot and Its Lineage: the Politics of Class and Sexual Identity in British Musicals
since 1953
Robert Gordon
V. Trailblazers
Chapter 18. Noel Coward: Sui Generis
Dominic McHugh
Chapter 19. Joan Littlewood: Collaboration and Vision
Ben Macpherson
Chapter 20. Lionel Bart: British Vernacular Musical Theatre
Millie Taylor
Chapter 21. Tim Rice: the Pop Star Scenario
Olaf Jubin
Chapter 22. Cameron Mackintosh: Control, Collaboration and the Creative Producer
Miranda Lunskaer-Nielsen
Chapter 23. Andrew Lloyd Webber: Haunted by the Phantom
David Chandler
VI. The Art of the Possible: Alternative Approaches Musical Theatre Aesthetics
Chapter 24. The Beggar's Legacy: Playing with Music and Drama, 1920-2003
Bob Lawson-Peebles
Chapter 25. Mamma Mia! and the Aesthetics of the 21st Century Jukebox Musical
George Rodosthenous
Chapter 26. Attracting the Family Market: Shows with Cross-generations Appeal
Rebecca Warner
Chapter 27. Genre Counterpoints: Challenges to the Mainstream Musical
David Roesner
Chapter 28. Some Yesterdays Always Remain: Black British and Anglo-Asian Musical Theatre
Ben Macpherson

About the author: 

As Professor of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London, Robert Gordon established the first MA in Musical Theatre for writers and producers in Europe. He has worked as a playwright, director, actor and critic and is author of Pinter's Theatre of Power, Stoppard: Text and Performance, The Purpose of Playing, co-author of British Musicals since 1950 and editor of the Oxford Handbook of Sondheim Studies. Olaf Jubin is Reader in Media Studies and Musical Theatre at Regent's University London
he has written, co-written and co-edited several books in the area of popular culture, the mass media and musical theatre, both in English and in German, among them studies on the dubbing and subtitling of Hollywood musicals for the German market and a comparative analysis of American, British, German and Austrian reviews of the musicals of Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

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