Shakespeare and the American Musical

Shakespeare and the American Musical

Irene G. Dash
Distribution: World
Publication date: 1/5/2010
Format: paper 248 pages, 21 b&w illus.
6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-253-22152-0
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Irene G. Dash explores the influence of Shakespeare on American musical theater through analyses of five important productions from 1938 through 1971—The Boys from Syracuse (The Comedy of Errors), Kiss Me, Kate (Taming of the Shrew), West Side Story (Romeo and Juliet), Your Own Thing (Twelfth Night), and Two Gentlemen of Verona. Dash argues that adaptations of Shakespeare were instrumental in the alteration of the musical theater formula from the stock plots and song forms of the 1930s musical comedy to the more organic "integrated musical," where songs and dance sequences were used to advance the plot rather than break the action. In bringing together these well-known works, Dash offers a fresh look at the development of American musical theater and a new understanding of Shakespeare in the modern American context.

Author Bio

Irene G. Dash is the author of Women's Worlds in Shakespeare's Plays and Wooing, Wedding, and Power: Women in Shakespeare's Plays. Her most recent published work appears in the Folger Shakespeare Library's edited volume Shakespeare in American Life. She taught English and Shakespeare for 30 years at Hunter College, CUNY.


"[Dash] has made a convincing case for seeing Bard-inspired works as vital in the devlopment of the 20th century's 'organic' or integrated musical in which song, dance and multimedia drive the plot." —CUNY Matters , Summer 2010

"[Dash] has done a superb job of exploring her source materials and provides excellent details on the genesis and development of each musical. Good illustrations, fine documentation, and a bibliography are assets. . . . Recommended." —
Choice , August 2010

"[Dash] has done an excellent job in giving new insights into Shakespeare and the American musical." —
The Shakespeare Newsletter , Spring/Summer 2010

"Informed by a lively and expert understanding of the theatrical medium in question and a thorough and scholarly insight into the Shakespeare plays." —Russell Jackson, University of Birmingham

"Dramaturges and directors will appreciate Dash's detailed textual analyses, her extensive research, and her reliance on primary source material, including detailed descriptions of the original productions, all of which would be useful for anyone staging a revival of any of these gems of the American musical theatre." —
Theatre Survey

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