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
"An enlightening trip for lovers of musicals." (Kirkus)
Viertel has written an informed and informative exploration of classic american musicals.
Pittu is an an excellent reader.
Absolutely! This is one of the most engaging and thoughtful audio books I have ever listened to.
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.
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.
If you love the musical theatre, as I do, listen to this book and will come away loving it even more.
"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.
The reader comes close to actually performing some of the music, which is something I couldn't do reading the lyrics.
Stephen Sondheim -- always brilliant!
A love of the material that never flags. A wonderful reading.
No -- like a box of chocolates, it should be read slowly, and savored.
A sequel would be terrific -- Secrets of the British Musical perhaps...
The Book Snob for Paris Life Magazine.
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.
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