Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre

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9780028649702: Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre

In the past ten years, a lot has happened in the musical theatre. New shows have opened and closed, new talents have emerged, and hit shows have made triumphant returns to Broadway. Now, the acclaimed "Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre" - a 1994 Dartmouth Medal honorable mention -- has been fully revised and updated to document new developments with 500 new articles, more than 4,000 revised articles and dozens of color photos. From the dawn of operetta in the 18th century to the present, this set offers an unrivaled amount of information on the people, the songs and shows in America and around the world.

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About the Author:

Kurt Ganzl is the world's leading authority on musical theater. He is the acclaimed author of The British Musical Theater, Ganzl's Book of the Musical Theater and the Encyclopedia of the Musical Theater. He has written and recorded a 25-part radio series on the history of the musical theater, as well as completing his first book specifically treating the America musical stage, Ganzl's Book of the Broadway Musical. He now lives in New Zealand.

From Booklist:

The author of The British Musical Theatre (Oxford, 1987) and G„nzl's Book of the Musical Theatre (Schirmer, 1989) shares his passion in this international compendium. Here are approximately 2,700 entries for performers, composers, writers, and shows; some producers, directors, choreographers, and designers are included as well. The scope is the text-based musical (no opera, pantomines, or revues) as performed in Britain, Europe, the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While the choice of entries is ultimately idiosyncratic, G„nzl sought subjects most widely known internationally. This means there are no entries for such well-known American performers as Stubby Kaye and Robert Alda while many obscure nineteenth-century European performers are covered.

Entries are generally at least two paragraphs in length and can be as long as three pages (e.g., for Richard Rogers, Franz von Supp{‚}e) and start with a brief identifier (e.g., "Musical comedy in 2 acts by Harold Atteridge"). For people, basic biographical information is given with lists of the musicals in which they were involved. When available, biographies or autobiographies are listed. Plot summaries and international performance history are given for musicals. Film adaptations are described, and some recordings and books are cited. The 315 black-and-white illustrations include cast shots and covers of playbills and sheet music. The arrangement is alphabetical; cross-references and an index are lacking.

G„nzl's introduction indicates that he collects everything he can find on musicals but also does library and archive research to verify his facts. The writing here is informal and slangy, often in a British vein. For example, the article on Casanova comments "on those allegedly rare occasions when he was not out putting it about."

Other reference books on musical theater are more narrow in scope (Bordman's American Musical Theater, 2d ed. [RBB Jl 92]; Stanley Green's Encyclopedia of the Musical Theater [Da Capo, 1980]; Swain's The Broadway Musical [Oxford, 1990]) and may suffice in many public libraries. G„nzl's Book of the Musical Theatre covers 300 shows from seven countries in much greater detail than this encyclopedia. The coverage in this new set is wide, and articles are readable and informative. Although seemingly adequately researched, it is not written in a scholarly style. An index and/or cross-references would have greatly increased access to the information. This is a must for music collections and is worth considering for academic and large public libraries.

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