British Musical Theatre since 1950

British Musical Theatre since 1950 $27.99

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Robert Gordon & Olaf Jubin & Millie Taylor

Published by Methuen

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This critical introduction to post-war British musical theatre is the first book to discuss its post-war developments from the perspective of British as opposed to American popular culture

The genre is situated within the historical context of post-war British society in order to explore the range of forms through which significant sociocultural moments are represented.

Introductory chapters analyse the way British musicals have responded to social change, the forms of popular theatre and music from which they have developed and their originality in elaborating new narrative strategies since the seventies

A key feature of the book is its close readings of twelve key works, from Salad Days (1954) and Oliver! (1960) to global smash hits such as Les Misérables (1985) and The Phantom of the Opera (1986) and beyond, including the latest critical and box-office success Matilda (2011)

Also analysed are British favourites (Blood Brothers, 1983), cult shows (The Rocky Horror Show, 1975) and musicals with a pre-existing fan-base, such as Mamma Mia (1999)


List of Illustrations

PART ONE: Musicals and Social Change

1.1 British Theatre and Society after the Second World War

1.2 Innovation and Nostalgia: Camp in the Post-War British Musical

Case Study 1: Salad Days

1.3 Rock and Roll and the Theatre Revolution

1.4 The Play with Music: Political Theatre and Working-Class Culture

Case Study 2: Blood Brothers

1.5 The Impact of Oliver!

1.6 After Jesus Christ Superstar: Globalization and Cultural Specificity

Case Study 3: Billy Elliot

1.7 Global and Local: The Family Musical

Case Study 4: Matilda The Musical

PART TWO: British Popular Culture and Musical Theatre

2.1 Nostalgia in Character and Dramatic Form

Case Study 5: Oh What a Lovely War!

2.2 Reflecting Multiculturalism

Case Study 6: Bombay Dreams

2.3 Changing Signification in Popular Music

Case Study 7: Oliver!

Case Study 8: The Rocky Horror Show

Conclusion to Part Two

PART THREE:: Narrative and Story-Telling in the British Musical since 1970


3.1 Concept Recordings: When What You See is What You Have Heard

Case Study 9: Jesus Christ Superstar

3.2 Sung-Through Shows: When the Spoken Word is Shunned

3.3 Stage Adaptations of Novels: When the Written Word Becomes Theatrical Action

Case Study 10: Les Misérables

Case Study 11: The Phantom of the Opera

3.4 Original Stories: When the Content is Unknown

3.5 Jukebox Musicals: When You Know All the Songs

Case Study 12: Mamma Mia!

3.6 Stage Adaptation of Films: When the Cinematic Becomes the Theatrical

Selective Bibliography

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