Do I Hear a Waltz?

By Cameron, Ben | American Theatre, February 2000 | Go to article overview

Do I Hear a Waltz?


Cameron, Ben, American Theatre


For many of us who grew up outside of major urban centers, our first exposure to professional theatre came through the original Broadway cast album. I still cannot listen to "Wonderful Guy" without hearing Mary Martin, "If I Were a Rich Man" without remembering Zero Mostel or "Ribbons Down My Back" without being haunted by Eileen Brennan. (Yes, Eileen Brennan.) I eagerly anticipated my first trip to New York less because of the Statue of Liberty than because of Broadway; the first show I saw was Follies. In essence, professional theatre to me originally meant musical theatre, and long before Chekhov, Shakespeare and Ibsen found their way into my heart, my affections were ruled by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe and Kander and Ebb.

It strikes me as one of the curiosities of my present occupation that I find myself frequently defending my love of the musical. The presumption that TCG is somehow anti-musical is one I vehemently deny. While relatively few of our members devote themselves exclusively or predominantly to musical theatre (Goodspeed Opera in Connecticut, Music-Theatre Group in New York and Nautilus Music-Theatre in Minnesota being three wildly different and notable exceptions), more and more of our members are undertaking musical projects--a wealth of activity that this month's American Theatre begins to highlight.

In a New York theatre season that within a month saw the openings of both Kiss Me Kate and Lincoln Center Theater Company's Marie Christine, the New York Times has devoted significant space to discussing the American musical. In Albert Innaurato's pronouncement of the death of the musical, Michael John LaChiusa's defense of eclecticism and atonality, and a raft of letters from passionate audience members, many old arguments have been aired, revolving around two basic, recurring questions: "Can the musical be art, or is it merely glorified entertainment?" and "Why should we have a musical that lacks memorable (read 'hummable') melodies and tunes?"

Frankly, Lam finding the assumed distinction between "art" and "entertainment" less and less useful. Adherents of "art" are perceived as elitist, remote, out of touch; those who extol the virtues of "entertainment" are reduced to philistines, simpletons, panderers to the marketplace. Discussions of musicals especially tend to reinforce this dichotomy, (the "art" camp claiming Sondheim, Guettel, Finn, etc., and the "entertainment" laying claim to Jerry Herman, the armada of films refashioned into musicals, and Disney projects). It is little wonder that tempers fly and scant common ground can be found.

In a recent issue of Harper's, however, I ran across an article by Lee Siegel dealing with the Stanley Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut. Siegel drew a valuable distinction between the "pleasures of diversion" and the "pleasures of attention. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Do I Hear a Waltz?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.