In the decades before the Second World War, popular musical theatre was one of the most influential forms of entertainment. This is the first book to reconstruct early popular musical theatre as a transnational and highly cosmopolitan industry that included everything from revues and operettas to dance halls and cabaret. Bringing together contributors from Britain and Germany, this collection moves beyond national theatre histories to study Anglo-German relations at a period of intense hostility and rivalry. Chapters frame the entertainment zones of London and Berlin against the wider trading routes of cultural transfer, where empire and transatlantic song and dance produced, perhaps for the first time, a genuinely international culture. Exploring adaptations and translations of works under the influence of political propaganda, this collection will be of interest both to musical theatre enthusiasts and to those interested in the wider history of modernism.
Len Platt is Professor of Modern Literature at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His research interests are modern literature, James Joyce and popular musical theatre and his publications include James Joyce: Texts and Contexts (2011), Modernism and Race (edited, 2010), Joyce, Race and 'Finnegans Wake' (2006), Musical Comedy on the West End Stage, 1890-1939 (2004) and Aristocracies of Fiction (2003). Tobias Becker is a lecturer at the Freie Universitat Berlin. His research focuses upon the history of popular culture and urban history in Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and his publications include Inszenierte Moderne. Populares Theater in Berlin und London, 1880-1930 (2014) and Die Stadt der tausend Freuden. Vergnugungskultur um 1900 (edited with Anna Littmann and Johanna Niedbalski, 2011). David Linton is a theatre practitioner and an associate lecturer at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His research interests include multidisciplinary participatory arts practice, popular musical theatre, Black performance and the formation and representation of national and cultural identities.
Introduction Len Platt, Tobias Becker and David Linton; Part I. The Mechanics of Transfer and Translation: 1. Berlin/London: London/Berlin: an outline of cultural transfer, 1890-1914 Len Platt; 2. Local contexts and genre construction in early continental musical theatre Marion Linhardt; 3. German operetta in the West End and on Broadway Derek B. Scott; 4. The Arcadians and Filmzauber: adaptation and the popular musical theatre text Tobias Becker; 5. How a sweet Viennese girl became a fair international lady: transfer, performance, modernity Stefan Frey; 6. 'A happy man can live in the past': musical theatre transfer in the 1920s and 1930s Len Platt and Tobias Becker; Part II. Atlantic Traffic: 7. Hullo Ragtime! West End revue and the Americanisation of popular culture in pre-1914 Britain Peter Bailey; 8. The Argentine tango: a transatlantic dance on the European Stage Kerstin Lange; 9. Dover Street to Dixie and the politics of cultural transfer and exchange David Linton and Len Platt; 10. The transculturality of stage, song and other media: intermediality in popular musical theatre Carolin Stahrenberg and Nils Grosch; Part III. Representation in Transition: Stage Others: 11. The Sandow Girl and her sisters: the construction and performance of the healthy female body in fin de siecle musical comedy Viv Gardner; 12. West End musical theatre and the representation of Germany Len Platt; 13. The Tropical Express: an exotic non-stop revue in Nazi Germany Susann Lewrenz; 14. Operetta and propaganda: the politicisation of popular musical theatre in the Third Reich Matthias Kauffmann.