Review by Choice Review
The authors' respect and affection for the genre animates this concise guide to 180 musicals. It begins with "How to Use this Book," a helpful explanation of the book's arrangement. The lively introduction traces the evolution of musical comedy from the early 18th century to the present, placing developments in historical and social context. Its mild British bias reminds readers that the musical comedy is not exclusively American. The unique "Forms of Musical" defines, with examples, nine categories of musical comedy. The main body of the work consists of alphabetically arranged entries for individual musicals, each at least two pages in length. A typical entry covers authorship, performance data, major characters, original casts, plot summary, brief evaluation of the music, a few interesting facts, critical quotes, a discography, and a filmography. This section is followed by biographical sketches of more than 70 composers and lyricists, cross-referenced to other names and to musicals. Writing teams are covered together (Richard Rodgers appears with both Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein III). Musical and song titles are indexed separately, the latter cross-referenced to the former. The fifth edition of Stanley Green's Broadway Musicals Show by Show (1996), which presents much the same information for nearly twice as many musicals but in a less accessible format, is probably a better introductory survey of the musical comedy. Academic libraries supporting musical theater programs should own both. An informative and entertaining work for scholars and fans alike. Recommended for all levels. M. C. Duhig; Library Center of Point Park College and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
These upbeat, useful home references have similar formats, with entries for each opera, operetta, or musical listing composer, librettist, date of first performance, principal characters, plot, critical commentary, musical highlights, a random fact about the composer or production, and at least one recommended recording. Musicals lists 180 shows alphabetically, with an appendix of composer and lyricist biographies. It occasionally recommends filmed versions of the shows and includes information about original casts, both American and British. Opera and Operettas is arranged alphabetically and includes 77 composers, from John Adams to Bernd Alois Zimmermann, more than half having lived at least part of their lives in the 20th century. It includes biographical information at the beginning of each composer entry. Principal operas by each composer are listed, though only selected major operas are described at length. An essay on the history of each genre opens each book. British pride comes through in the opera bookand with 20th-century operas by Britten, Tippett, Walton, Birtwistle, Maxwell Davies, and others, it would be hard for a British publication on opera not to show pride. Naturally, the shows in Musicals are mostly by Americans. Well designed, reasonably priced, and written in lively styles by informed British music critics who respect their audiences, these books will delight lovers of opera and musicals. They are, however, perfect-bound and will probably not stand up to hard use. Libraries should regard them as supplementary items.Bonnie Jo Dopp, Univ. of Maryland Lib., College Park (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.