Irving Berlin's American Musical Theater

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

"The mob is always right" was the idea that charged Irving Berlin's career in American popular music. Taking off from that claim, this book represents a wide-ranging exploration of America's greatest songwriter and his role in creating twentieth-century musical theater. Drawing on past scholarly efforts and a vast store of recently released archival material, the book strives to break new ground in focusing on Irving Berlin's half-century of work for the Broadway stage-a career that tracks the development of American musical theater itself. The book traces a fundamental paradigm shift from early twentieth-century values of variety entertainment, manifested in Berlin's revues and revue-like comedies, to an increasing emphasis on coherent, well-crafted scripts for musical comedy, in which songs were more thoroughly integrated into the plot. Throughout, Berlin maintained a unique balance by fitting musical numbers tightly to their show contexts, and addressing their historical moment, while preserving their integrity as individual songs that could have their own lives in the musical marketplace as jazz and cabaret standards, and as popular classics whose sheet music enjoyed pride of place in the piano benches of American homes. Like Berlin's songs and shows, the book is designed for a wide readership of musical theater aficionados as well as serious students of music, drama, and popular culture-and anyone interested in the story of a poor immigrant boy whose life and work expressed so well the American dream.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages408
ISBN (Electronic)9780199933358
ISBN (Print)9780195398267
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 6 2012

Fingerprint

Musical Theater
Song
Music Drama
Fundamental
Readership
Boys
Comedies
Paradigm Shift
Musical Comedy
Integrity
Plot
Entertainment
Pride
Popular music
Jazz
American Dream
Popular Culture
Songwriter
Immigrants
Broadway

Keywords

  • American dream
  • American musical theater
  • American popular music
  • Broadway
  • Entertainment
  • Immigrant
  • Irving Berlin
  • Musical comedy
  • Popular culture
  • Revue
  • Songs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Irving Berlin's American Musical Theater. / Magee, Jeffrey.

Oxford University Press, 2012. 408 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Magee, Jeffrey. / Irving Berlin's American Musical Theater. Oxford University Press, 2012. 408 p.
@book{acdc7b5c9c7f45389feec658cc355a8d,
title = "Irving Berlin's American Musical Theater",
abstract = "{"}The mob is always right{"} was the idea that charged Irving Berlin's career in American popular music. Taking off from that claim, this book represents a wide-ranging exploration of America's greatest songwriter and his role in creating twentieth-century musical theater. Drawing on past scholarly efforts and a vast store of recently released archival material, the book strives to break new ground in focusing on Irving Berlin's half-century of work for the Broadway stage-a career that tracks the development of American musical theater itself. The book traces a fundamental paradigm shift from early twentieth-century values of variety entertainment, manifested in Berlin's revues and revue-like comedies, to an increasing emphasis on coherent, well-crafted scripts for musical comedy, in which songs were more thoroughly integrated into the plot. Throughout, Berlin maintained a unique balance by fitting musical numbers tightly to their show contexts, and addressing their historical moment, while preserving their integrity as individual songs that could have their own lives in the musical marketplace as jazz and cabaret standards, and as popular classics whose sheet music enjoyed pride of place in the piano benches of American homes. Like Berlin's songs and shows, the book is designed for a wide readership of musical theater aficionados as well as serious students of music, drama, and popular culture-and anyone interested in the story of a poor immigrant boy whose life and work expressed so well the American dream.",
keywords = "American dream, American musical theater, American popular music, Broadway, Entertainment, Immigrant, Irving Berlin, Musical comedy, Popular culture, Revue, Songs",
author = "Jeffrey Magee",
year = "2012",
month = "4",
day = "6",
doi = "10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195398267.001.0001",
language = "English (US)",
isbn = "9780195398267",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
address = "United States",

}

TY - BOOK

T1 - Irving Berlin's American Musical Theater

AU - Magee, Jeffrey

PY - 2012/4/6

Y1 - 2012/4/6

N2 - "The mob is always right" was the idea that charged Irving Berlin's career in American popular music. Taking off from that claim, this book represents a wide-ranging exploration of America's greatest songwriter and his role in creating twentieth-century musical theater. Drawing on past scholarly efforts and a vast store of recently released archival material, the book strives to break new ground in focusing on Irving Berlin's half-century of work for the Broadway stage-a career that tracks the development of American musical theater itself. The book traces a fundamental paradigm shift from early twentieth-century values of variety entertainment, manifested in Berlin's revues and revue-like comedies, to an increasing emphasis on coherent, well-crafted scripts for musical comedy, in which songs were more thoroughly integrated into the plot. Throughout, Berlin maintained a unique balance by fitting musical numbers tightly to their show contexts, and addressing their historical moment, while preserving their integrity as individual songs that could have their own lives in the musical marketplace as jazz and cabaret standards, and as popular classics whose sheet music enjoyed pride of place in the piano benches of American homes. Like Berlin's songs and shows, the book is designed for a wide readership of musical theater aficionados as well as serious students of music, drama, and popular culture-and anyone interested in the story of a poor immigrant boy whose life and work expressed so well the American dream.

AB - "The mob is always right" was the idea that charged Irving Berlin's career in American popular music. Taking off from that claim, this book represents a wide-ranging exploration of America's greatest songwriter and his role in creating twentieth-century musical theater. Drawing on past scholarly efforts and a vast store of recently released archival material, the book strives to break new ground in focusing on Irving Berlin's half-century of work for the Broadway stage-a career that tracks the development of American musical theater itself. The book traces a fundamental paradigm shift from early twentieth-century values of variety entertainment, manifested in Berlin's revues and revue-like comedies, to an increasing emphasis on coherent, well-crafted scripts for musical comedy, in which songs were more thoroughly integrated into the plot. Throughout, Berlin maintained a unique balance by fitting musical numbers tightly to their show contexts, and addressing their historical moment, while preserving their integrity as individual songs that could have their own lives in the musical marketplace as jazz and cabaret standards, and as popular classics whose sheet music enjoyed pride of place in the piano benches of American homes. Like Berlin's songs and shows, the book is designed for a wide readership of musical theater aficionados as well as serious students of music, drama, and popular culture-and anyone interested in the story of a poor immigrant boy whose life and work expressed so well the American dream.

KW - American dream

KW - American musical theater

KW - American popular music

KW - Broadway

KW - Entertainment

KW - Immigrant

KW - Irving Berlin

KW - Musical comedy

KW - Popular culture

KW - Revue

KW - Songs

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84884232466&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84884232466&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195398267.001.0001

DO - 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195398267.001.0001

M3 - Book

AN - SCOPUS:84884232466

SN - 9780195398267

BT - Irving Berlin's American Musical Theater

PB - Oxford University Press

ER -