A Chorus Line and the Musicals of Michael Bennett

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9780312042806: A Chorus Line and the Musicals of Michael Bennett
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Although focusing on the unique creative process that resulted in the phenomenally popular musical, "A Chorus Line," this study also examines the development of other Bennett successes--such as "Follies," "Dreamgirls," and Company"

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From Library Journal:

The death of director-choreographer Michael Bennett from AIDS in 1987 left a noticeable gap in contemporary Broadway musical creativity. This mercurial and driven martinet was an undisputed theatrical genius, simultaneously loved and hated by most who worked with him. Mandelbaum traces Bennett's career from summer stock to the unproduced Scandal , with emphasis on A Chorus Line . Flinn, who appeared in the show's international company, focuses on its history, from a series of taped monologues by a group of dancers brought together by Bennett for an unspecified theater project to its success as Broadway's longest-running musical. Both volumes rely heavily on interviews and reminiscences, often painfully honest, by those connected with the show; Flinn's work doubles as a collective biography of the original cast. Despite Bennett's unorthodox directing methods and drug use, casting problems with the various productions of the show, and a disastrous film version, A Chorus Line has become enormously successful and is entering its 15th year. Neither volume attempts to be a definitive biography of Bennett, but both are excellent and worthy tributes to a landmark musical and the creative forces behind it. While there is naturally some overlap, the focus of each is different, and libraries will need both for their theater collections. Recommended. (Photographs not seen.)-- Eric W. Johnson, Univ. of Bridgeport Lib., Ct.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Mandelbaum, who writes about musical theater for several New York publications, here pays tribute to the accomplishments of the young director-choreographer who died of AIDS in 1987. He traces the evolution of Bennett's style from his early works (including Company and Follies ) to the high point of his career, A Chorus Line , and beyond ( Ballroom ; Dreamgirls ). The major part of the book is devoted to the longest-running show in Broadway history. The chapter on the improvisatory workshops in which A Chorus Line had its beginnings is beguiling, as are the accounts of Bennett's novel directing methods. Mandelbaum succeeds in defining the features that make this musical such an innovative work. Quotations from many of Bennett's closest associates give insight into the character of the driven and brilliant director whose energy and ambition seem almost superhuman. Photos.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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