To Broadway, to Life: The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick

By Wells, Elizabeth A. | Notes, December 2012 | Go to article overview

To Broadway, to Life: The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick


Wells, Elizabeth A., Notes


To Broadway, To Life: The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick. By Philip Lambert. (Broadway Legacies.) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. [xvi, 361 p. ISBN 9780195390070. $35]. Music examples, illustrations, bibliography, appendices, index.

This recent installment in Oxford's Broad way Legacies series (six volumes at last count) has taken over some of the territory formerly covered by the Yale Broadway Masters series. The latter produced eight volumes between 2004 and 2011 (with something of a hiatus recently) that focused primarily on the most successful and prolific composers and lyricists from Broadway history. The Legacies series has a broader sweep, with volumes on creators (Dorothy Fields and the volume under discussion, on the team of Bock and Harnick) as well as on individual works (Show Boat and South Pacific, with a projected volume on My Fair Lady). With few exceptions, volumes in both series come from authors who specialize in musical theatre or the specific musicals themselves, lending both series a strong imprimatur; these are foundational texts and often the first full-length studies of their subjects, written by the top experts in the field. As such, volumes in this series typically survey the important biographical and musical elements of the composer's and lyricist's styles, present in-depth studies of some of their more famous musicals, and introduce readers to lesser-known works in their repertoires.

Indeed, the trajectory of volumes in both series serves as a kind of canon-building ex ercise, in which the major works in the repertoire are shored up by scholarship that also allows for new works to be introduced into that canon. A corollary to this scholarship is the "Encores!" series of concerts that has taken place in New York since the mid-1990s. This series presents in a concert setting rarely-heard or lessfrequently- produced musicals to allow audiences access to some of the treasures of the Broadway repertoire without the burden of their production costs. Lesser-known works like St. Louis Woman (Arlen and Mercer) stand along more famous works like On the Town (Bernstein and Comden/Green) and these pared-down revivals provide an alternative to the often commercial and ephemeral offerings on Broadway today while allowing a glimpse into the past.

For Bock and Harnick, the subject of the present volume, the series editor Geoffrey Block mentions specifically the Encores! presentation of She Loves Me and the performance of Kirsten Chenoweth as an indication that a study of the creators is timely and their works worthy of revisiting. Philip Lambert, the author of the volume itself, situates his subjects not only within their own oeuvre, but within Broadway history in general, which is another important function of books such as these. The output of Bock and Harnick falls into one of the most interesting and fraught periods in musical theatre historiography, the end of the Golden Age and the ascendancy of the concept musical and the directorchoreographer. As such, the author can provide commentary on the period and the way in which changes in the creative process reflect some of the changing means of production and focus of Broadway musicals. Lambert particularly wants to portray the team as adhering to the highest ideals of what is called the "integrated" musical (a term that has been applied to many of the Rodgers and Hammerstein shows, but which is fraught with modernist ideology and indeed has been applied to many works before and after the Golden Age heyday). His emphasis is, then, on how the authors valued dramatic integrity over sheer craftsmanship:

If there is a thread of consistency in their mature work it is their acute sensitivity to drama; they wrote for specific dramatic circumstances and characters, in the best tradition of the integrated musical. They also created little musical dramas within the substance of their scores-dramas of themes, motives, chord types, harmonic progressions, and the like, that interact artfully with the unfolding developments of story and character. …

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

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
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.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
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, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 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.

Cited article

To Broadway, to Life: The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick
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

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, 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."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.

    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.