What is it about musical theatre that audiences find entertaining? What are the features that lead to its ability to stimulate emotional attachment, to move and to give pleasure? Beginning from the passion musical theatre performances arouse and their ubiquity in London's West End and on Broadway this book explores the ways in which musical theatre reaches out to and involves its audiences. It investigates how pleasure is stimulated by vocal, musical and spectacular performances. Early discussions centre on the construction of the composed text, but then attention is given to performance and audience response. Musical theatre contains disruptions and dissonances in its multiple texts, it allows gaps for audiences to read playfully. This combines with the voluptuous sensations of embodied emotion, contagiously and viscerally shared between audience and stage, and augmented through the presence of voice and music. A number of features are discovered in the construction of musical theatre performance texts that allow them to engage the intense emotional attachment of their audiences and so achieve enormous popularity. In doing this, the book challenges the conception of musical theatre as 'only entertainment'. Entertainment instead becomes a desirable, ephemeral and playful concept.
About the Series
Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera
The Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera series provides a centralized and prominent forum for the presentation of cutting-edge scholarship that draws on numerous disciplinary approaches to a wide range of subjects associated with the creation, performance, and reception of opera (and related genres) in various historical and social contexts. There is great need for a broader approach to scholarship about opera. In recent years, the course of study has developed significantly, going beyond traditional musicological approaches to reflect new perspectives from literary criticism and comparative literature, cultural history, philosophy, art history, theatre history, gender studies, film studies, political science, philology, psycho-analysis, and medicine. The new brands of scholarship have allowed a more comprehensive interrogation of the complex nexus of means of artistic expression operative in opera, one that has meaningfully challenged prevalent historicist and formalist musical approaches. The Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera series continues to move this important trend forward by including essay collections and monographs that reflect the ever-increasing interest in opera in non-musical contexts. Books in the series are linked by their emphasis on the study of a single genre - opera - yet are distinguished by their individualized and novel approaches by scholars from various disciplines/fields of inquiry. The remit of the series welcomes studies of seventeenth century to contemporary opera from all geographical locations, including non-Western topics.
BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
- MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Musicals