Review by Choice Review
Featuring more than 750 entries, this is an encyclopedia of musicals performed on Broadway, beginning with Oklahoma's 1943 debut. In the preface Stewart (an independent scholar) explains his definition of Broadway musical; shows that fall outside the definition (Off Broadway, before 1943, special events, etc.) may be found in the sizable appendix. Entries for Broadway musicals are divided into three parts: before Broadway, the Broadway run, and after Broadway. Each entry includes a plot synopsis and notes on casting dilemmas, lawsuits, finances, literary antecedents, tour companies, and film versions as applicable. Credits for cast and crew, including performers, director, choreographer, producer, composer, lyricist, and more are provided; names also appear in the Personnel Index. Musical numbers are listed by act and indexed in the Song Index. Entries range in length from half a page for the obscure (Baker Street, Something's Afoot) to upwards of eight pages for long-running shows (Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera). Revivals have their own entries. Appendix entries are shorter but contain the essentials. Also included is a chronology of opening nights. This is a solid resource marred by typos, often within the same paragraph as the correct terms (Girl Upstairs and Girls Upstairs, Howard Silva and Howard da Silva). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels. S. Clerc Southern Connecticut State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Millions of theatergoers have enjoyed Broadway shows since opening night on March 31, 1943, when the first modern musical dazzled audiences with its unprecedented blend of song, dance, and story. The show was Oklahoma!0 and the top ticket price was $4.80. A major snowstorm kept ticket holders at home on opening night, but "reviews were terrific and the show soon sold out." Author Stewart draws from annual issues of Theatre World, Best Plays,0 old copies of Playbill,0 the New York Times0 , the Internet Broadway Theatre Database and Internet Theatre Database, and the resources of the Lincoln Center Library to bring together data on approximately 3,000 musicals. The only drawback to this splendid compilation is the lack of illustrations; a few well-chosen photos of actors, scenes, or stages might have added interest without impinging on the obvious space limitations inherent in a work of this magnitude. The volume has an accessible format with excellent indexes, one for songs and one for personnel, and provides information on many additional shows that do not meet the criteria for inclusion as a Broadway musical but that are important enough to merit mention. Off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway productions are included in the appendix, as are shows that closed during out-of-town tryouts, regional shows, and British shows, mostly from London's West End theater district. The 772 main entries are arranged alphabetically by show title and contain a plot description followed by sections covering the show's pre-Broadway history; the Broadway run itself, with a considerable amount of "who, what, where, when, and why" information regarding the show and venue(s); and "after Broadway," with facts about tours, London productions, off-Broadway revivals, and movie and TV versions. Complete crew and cast listings, act and scene breakdowns, orchestra, songs, dance routines, awards, and review summaries are also provided. The standard reference on the topic, Gerald Bordman's American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle0 (3d ed., Oxford, 2000), has a -season-by-season arrangement and includes some biographical material. Its companion, A Chronology of American Musical Theatre0 (Oxford, 2001), reproduces program information for almost 5,000 musicals. Spanning more than 250 years, these works are more comprehensive but less current than Stewart's volume. Broadway Musicals, 1943-20040 provides a wealth of information on a popular art form and is recommended for academic libraries and large public libraries. --Diana Kirby Copyright 2006 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.