front cover of The Art of the American Musical
The Art of the American Musical
Conversations With the Creators
Bryer, Jackson R
Rutgers University Press, 2019

Musical theater has captivated American audiences from its early roots in burlesque stage productions and minstrel shows to the million-dollar industry it has become on Broadway today. What is it about this truly indigenous American art form that has made it so enduringly popular? How has it survived, even thrived, alongside the technology of film and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood? Will it continue to evolve and leave its mark on the twenty-first century?

Bringing together exclusive and previously unpublished interviews with nineteen leading composers, lyricists, librettists, directors, choreographers, and producers from the mid-1900s to the present, this book details the careers of the individuals who shaped this popular performance art during its most prolific period. The interviewees discuss their roles in productions ranging from On the Town (1944) and Finian's Rainbow (1947) to The Producers (2001) and Bounce (2003).

Readers are taken onto the stage, into the rehearsals, and behind the scenes. The nuts and bolts, the alchemy, and the occasional agonies of the collaborative process are all explored. In their discussions, the artists detail their engagements with other creative forces, including such major talents as Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Jule Styne, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Alan Jay Lerner, Zero Mostel, and Gwen Verdon. They speak candidly about their own work and that of their peers, their successes and failures, the creative process, and how a show progresses from its conception through rehearsals and tryouts to opening night.

Taken together, these interviews give fresh insight into what Oscar Hammerstein called "a nightly miracle"—the creation of the American musical.


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For the Sake of the Song
Essays on Townes Van Zandt
Ann Norton Holbrook
University of North Texas Press, 2022

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Songwriting in Contemporary West Virginia
Profiles and Reflections
Travis D. Stimeling
West Virginia University Press, 2018
Songwriting in Contemporary West Virginia: Profiles and Reflections is the first book dedicated to telling the stories of West Virginia’s extensive community of songwriters.  Based on oral histories conducted by Stimeling and told largely in the songwriters’ own words, these profiles offer a lively overview of the personalities, venues, and networks that nurture and sustain popular music in West Virginia.
Stimeling is attentive to breadth and diversity, presenting sketches of established personalities like Larry Groce, who oversees Mountain Stage, and emerging musicians like Maria Allison, who dreams of one day performing there. Each profile includes a brief selected discography to guide readers to recordings of these musicians’ work.

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Who Put the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz?
Yip Harburg, Lyricist
Harold Meyerson and Ernie Harburg
University of Michigan Press, 1995
". . . required reading for anyone interested in the great American songs."-New York Times Book Review
Many of us can sing along with Dorothy when she imagines a place "Over the Rainbow." And we all remember the Depression-era classic "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" But very few can name the man who put the words to these celebrated hallmarks of American music- Yip Harburg. Five hundred songs spanning a fifty-year career bear witness to the brilliance of this until-now obscure figure.
Plunge into this scrupulously documented volume and discover how Harburg, once a poet of light verse, played a major role in the transformation of the Broadway revue into the sophisticated musical of the 1940s and 1950s. With extensive and exclusive interviews and lyrical analysis, the authors capture Harburg's wit, distinctive voice, and creative and collaborative methods.
Inquiry into Harburg's Jewish, New York City roots, apprenticeship in his craft, and involvement in the radical politics of the 1930s- he was blacklisted in the 1950s- puts into context the seemingly irreconcilable skepticism and optimism that contoured this lyrical genius's life and work.
Harold Meyerson is Executive Editor and chief political columnist, L.A. Weekly, and is on the editorial board of Dissent. Ernie Harburg is a social psychologist and epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, coauthor (with Bernard Rosenberg) of The Broadway Musical: Collaboration in Commerce and Art, and Yip Harburg's son.

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