Here for the first time is the whole history of the musical, on Broadway and off. Stempel combines original research-including a wealthy of primary sources and archival holdings-with deft and insightful analysis, and explores the rich strands of musical theater by genre and type, looking at not only how musicals work but also how they serve as barometers of social concerns and bearers of cultural values.
Beginning with the scandalous Astor Place Opera House riot of 1849, Stempel traces the growth of musicals from minstrel shows and burlesques, through the golden age of Show Boat and Oklahoma!, to such groundbreaking works as Company and Rent. Stempel examines musicals in their cultural and historical context and includes detailed portraits of all the influential figures-the creators, directors, and performers-who made it all possible.
Larry Stempel, an associate professor of music at Fordham University and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, was a member of Lehman Engel's BMI Musical Theater Workshop. He lives in Mount Vernon, New York.