The Routledge Companion to the Contemporary Musical is dedicated to the musical’s evolving relationship to American culture in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In the past decade-and-a-half, international scholars from an ever-widening number of disciplines and specializations have been actively contributing to the interdisciplinary field of musical theater studies. Musicals have served not only to mirror the sociopolitical, economic, and cultural tenor of the times, but have helped shape and influence it, in America and across the globe: a genre that may seem, at first glance, light-hearted and escapist serves also as a bold commentary on society.
Forty-four essays examine the contemporary musical as an ever-shifting product of an ever-changing culture. This volume sheds new light on the American musical as a thriving, contemporary performing arts genre, one that could have died out in the post-Tin Pan Alley era but instead has managed to remain culturally viable and influential, in part by newly embracing a series of complex contradictions. At present, the American musical is a live, localized, old-fashioned genre that has simultaneously developed into an increasingly globalized, tech-savvy, intensely mediated mass entertainment form. Similarly, as it has become increasingly international in its scope and appeal, the stage musical has also become more firmly rooted to Broadway—the idea, if not the place—and thus branded as a quintessentially American entertainment.
Table of Contents
Part 1 - Setting the Stage: An Introduction to Analyzing the Musical Theater / 1. Musical Theater Reception Theory, Or What Happens When You See a Show? (Katie Welsh and Stacy Wolf) / 2. "[title of chapter]" (Millie Taylor) / Part 2 - Starting with the ‘70s / 3. They’re Playing My Song: The American Musical in the Me-Decade (Bryan M. Vandevender) / 4. "My Corner of the Sky": Adolescence and Coming of Age in the Musicals of Stephen Schwartz (Ryan Bunch) / 5. Style as Star: Bob Fosse and Sixty Seconds That Changed Broadway (Ryan Donovan) / 6. Recreating the Ephemeral: Broadway Revivals Since 1971 (James Lovensheimer) / Part 3 - Aesthetic Transformations / 7. Sing: Musical Theater Voices from Superstar to Hamilton (Ben Macpherson) / 8. Amplifying Broadway After the Golden Age (Arreanna Rostosky) / 9. Starlight Expression and Phantom Operatics: Technology, Performance and the Megamusical’s Aesthetic of the Voice (Dominic Symonds) / 10. The Sung and the Spoken in Michael John LaChiusa’s Musicals (Alex Bádue) / 11. The New "Sounds of Broadway": Orchestrating Electronic Instruments in Contemporary Musicals (Michael M. Kennedy) / 12. Chart-Toppers to Showstoppers: Pop Artists Scoring the Broadway Stage (Matthew Lockitt) / 13. Scenographic Aesthetics and Automated Technologies in Broadway Musicals (Christin Essin) / Part 4 - Reading the Musical Through Gender / 14. Do-Re-#MeToo: Women, Work and Representation in the Broadway Musical (Mary Jo Lodge) / 15. It’s Still Working: Collaborating to Perform the Stories of Everyday Americans, Then and Now (Trudi Wright) / 16. The Pink Elephant in the Room (Aaron C. Thomas) / 17. "A Little More Mascara": Drag and the Broadway Musical from La Cage aux Folles to Kinky Boots (John M. Clum) / Part 5 - Reading the Musical through Race and Ethnicity / 18. The Multiracial Musical Metropolis: Casting and Race after A Chorus Line (Todd Decker) / 19. "Before the Parade Passes By": All-Black and All-Asian Hello, Dolly! as Celebration of Difference (Sissi Liu) / 20. Race and the City: Racial Formation in Avenue Q (SAJones) / 21. Can We "Leave Behind the World We Know"? Exploring Race and Ethnicity in the Musicals of Lin-Manuel Miranda (Elizabeth Titrington Craft) / 22. Falsettos and Indecent in the Shadow of Fiddler on the Roof: Reconsidering Jewish Identity on Broadway in the New Millennium (Raymond Knapp and Zelda Knapp) / Part 6 - Reading the Musical through Dance / 23. What Makes a Musical? Contact (2000) and Debates About Genre at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century (Joanna Dee Das) / 24. Dance in Musical Theater Revival and Adaptation: Engaging With the Past While Creating Dances for the Present (Liza Gennaro) / 25. The Convergence of Dance Styles in Hamilton: An American Musical (Phoebe Rumsey) / Part 7 - Reading the Musical through Interdisciplinary Lenses / 26. Post-Secular Musicals in a Post-Truth World (Jake Johnson) / 27. Let’s Do the Time Warp Again: Performing Time, Genre, and Spectatorship (Sarah Taylor Ellis) / 28. The Eye of the Storm: Reading Next to Normal with Psychoanalysis (Aleksei Grinenko) / 29. Parent/Child Relationships in the Musicals of Stephen Schwartz (Paul R. Laird) / 30. John Kander: The First Ninety-One Years (James Leve) / 31. Unlikely Subjects: The Critical Reception of History Musicals (Elissa Harbert) / Part 8 - Beyond Broadway: New Media and Fan Studies / 32. Worshipping Lin-Manuel Miranda: Fans and Totems in the Digital Age (Jessica Hillman-McCord) / 33. "Trash Talk and Virtual Protests: The Musical Genre’s Personal and Political Interactivity in the Age of Social Media" (Kelly Kessler) / 34. The Great Generational Divide: Stage-to-Screen Hollywood Musical Adaptations and the Enactment of Fandom (Holley Replogle-Wong) / 35. Play It Again (and Again, and Again): The Superfan and Musical Theater (James Deaville) / 36. Joss Whedon and the Geek Musical (Renée Camus) / 37. "YouTube! Musicals! YouTubesicals!" Cultivating Theater Fandom Through New Media (Aya Esther Hayashi) / 38. Dual-Focus Strategy in a Serial Narrative: SMASH, Nashville, and the Television Musical Series (Robynn Stilwell) / Part 9 - Growth and Expansion: Across the Country and Around the World / 39. Sharon McQueen and Milwaukee’s Alternative Regional Musical Theater (Amanda McQueen) / 40. Musicals in the Regional Theater (Jeffrey Ullom) / 41. Big River: A New Road to Broadway (Steven Adler) / 42. The Third Biggest Market: Musical Theater in Germany Since 1990 (Frédéric Döhl) / 43. The Korean Self/American Other: Korean Musical Theater in the Context of National Cultural Development (Hyunjung Lee) / 44. The Lion King: An International History (Susan Bennett)
Jessica Sternfeld is Associate Professor of Music and Director of the BA in Music at Chapman University.
Elizabeth L. Wollman is Professor of Music at Baruch College, CUNY, and a member of the doctoral faculty in the theater department at the CUNY Graduate Center.