"No legs, no jokes, no chance" : a history of the American musical theater /

Main Author: Patinkin, Sheldon.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Evanston, Ill. : Northwestern University Press, 2008.
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Review by Choice Review

Patinkin (Columbia College, Chicago) prepared this title as a textbook for his classroom. Accordingly, the book is similar in purpose to Geoffrey Block's Enchanted Evenings (CH, Sep'98, 36-0226) and Raymond Knapp's The American Musical and the Formation of National Identity (CH, May'05, 42-5171) and The American Musical and the Performance of Personal Identity (CH, Jul'07, 44-6155). But whereas Block and Knapp focus on themes and limit the number of musicals they cover, Patinkin provides a chronological narrative, covering musicals from their European beginnings through 2007. Though this title is more current than Denny Martin Flinn's Musical! A Grand Tour (CH, Oct'97, 35-0836), it does not replace it. Like Flinn and Mark Grant (The Rise and Fall of the Broadway Musical, CH, May'05, 42-5169), Patinkin acknowledges and describes the recent major changes in Broadway musicals. Useful additions are sidebars with specifics on individual shows, theater people, and world happenings (the last place theatrical events in historical context). Each chapter ends with suggestions for viewing or listening, not reading. This work cries out for more illustrations, and the bibliography simply gives citation information for works quoted. Thus the book serves best as a supplemental resource. Summing Up: Recommended. Large academic and public collections serving upper-division undergraduates and above and general readers. R. D. Johnson emeritus, SUNY College at Oneonta

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.