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The Secret Life of the American Musical Audiobook

The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows Are Built

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Publisher's Summary

For almost a century, Americans have been losing their hearts and losing their minds in an insatiable love affair with the American musical. It often begins in actors and reaches its passionate zenith when it comes time for love, marriage, and children, who will start the cycle all over again. Americans love musicals. Americans invented musicals. Americans perfected musicals. But what, exactly, is a musical?

In The Secret Life of the American Musical, Jack Viertel takes musicals apart, puts them back together, sings their praises, marvels at their unflagging inventiveness, and occasionally despairs over their more embarrassing shortcomings. In the process, he invites us to fall in love all over again by showing us how musicals happen, what makes them work, how they captivate audiences, and how one landmark show leads to the next - by design or by accident, by emulation or by rebellion - from Oklahoma! to Hamilton and onward.

©2016 Jack Viertel (P)2016 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"An enlightening trip for lovers of musicals." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Richard United States 03-22-16
    Richard United States 03-22-16 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "so good I need to buy the printed book"
    Where does The Secret Life of the American Musical rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Viertel has written an informed and informative exploration of classic american musicals.


    What does David Pittu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Pittu is an an excellent reader.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matriplex 07-01-16
    Matriplex 07-01-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "In love with the American Musical"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely! This is one of the most engaging and thoughtful audio books I have ever listened to.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Viertel is an insider whose love of the American musical is exceeded, perhaps, only by his vibrant insights and encyclopedic knowledge. The book is like a musical itself, with the chapters taking us from the overture to the 11 o'clock number--a perfect synchronization of content and form.


    What does David Pittu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator channels Viertel's love and enthusiasm for the material and he is clearly familiar enough with the numerous song lyrics quoted in each chapter so that his reading maintains the rhythm and integrity of the lyrics. First rate job.


    Any additional comments?

    If you love the musical theatre, as I do, listen to this book and will come away loving it even more.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ralph Guild WESTPORT, CT, 09-25-16
    Ralph Guild WESTPORT, CT, 09-25-16 Member Since 2005
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    "Just finished this book and plan to go back and order some CDs based on the author's recommendations."

    I recommend this book to anyone who sees new or revivals of Broadway musicals. I missed many lines of dialog in some shows and I want to hear them again in the next revival. It has added to my thirst to see and listen classics again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Constant Reader LA, CA, USA 08-25-16
    Constant Reader LA, CA, USA 08-25-16 Member Since 2013

    M

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    "Reminded Me of How Much I Love Musicals"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Secret Life of the American Musical to be better than the print version?

    The reader comes close to actually performing some of the music, which is something I couldn't do reading the lyrics.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Stephen Sondheim -- always brilliant!


    What does David Pittu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A love of the material that never flags. A wonderful reading.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No -- like a box of chocolates, it should be read slowly, and savored.


    Any additional comments?

    A sequel would be terrific -- Secrets of the British Musical perhaps...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SydSavvy PARIS, TX, United States 06-28-16
    SydSavvy PARIS, TX, United States 06-28-16

    The Book Snob for Paris Life Magazine.

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    "Great Review of the American Musical"

    I listened to this and now want to own it for the Best Album list at the end! Learned some things and remembered some things. Well done review of the American Musical.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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