Word Crazy: Broadway Lyricists from Cohan to Sondheim

Word Crazy: Broadway Lyricists from Cohan to Sondheim

by Thomas S. Hischak

Hardcover(New Edition)

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This volume surveys the development of the American musical during the 20th century by focusing on one of the most important yet least recognized members of the creative team: the lyricist. From George M. Cohan and Irving Berlin through Oscar Hammerstein II, Alan Jay Lerner, Ira Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim, and others, Word Crazy examines both well-known and obscure writers who have shaped one of America's most beloved theatrical forms. The author offers an overview of each lyricist's career and works and evaluates his or her strengths, weaknesses, patterns, temperament, and personal vision. The result is an unusual critical history of the Broadway musical that will be of significant interest to students of the theatre as well as to anyone who wishes to learn more about the unique craft of the theatre lyricist.

Beginning with George M. Cohan, the American theatre's first important lyricist, and continuing up into the 1980s, the book presents an overall history of the musical theatre during this century. Hischak explores the various trends and movements, from the early operettas through the arrival of jazz, and up through the conceptual musicals of the last 30 years. The treatment is chronological with most chapters focusing on a single lyricist. A bibliography and index complete the volume. By reviewing the careers and works of America's most influential theatre lyricists, Hischak offers a fresh new perspective on the evolution of musical theatre in America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780275938499
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/30/1991
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

THOMAS S. HISCHAK is Associate Professor of Theatre History and Criticism at State University of New York—Cortland. He has published numerous plays.

Table of Contents

Whistling the Lyrics: An Introduction

The Man Who Owned Broadway: George M. Cohan

As Thousands Cheered: Irving Berlin

Going Up: Otto Harbach

Leave It To Plum: P. G. Wodehouse

No More Make-Believe: Oscar Hammerstein II

Of Words I Sing: Ira Gershwin

Anything Goes: Cole Porter

On His Toes: Lorenz Hart

On and Off the Bandwagon: Howard Dietz and Dorothy Fields

Yip's Rainbow: E. Y. Harburg

Also in the 1920s and 1930s

Almost Like Being in Love: Alan Jay Lerner

Two on the Aisle: Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Make a Miracle: Frank Loesser

Something's Coming: Stephen Sondheim

Tradition: Sheldon Harnick

Also in the 1940s and 1950s

Sunday Clothes: Jerry Herman

Trying to Remember: Tom Jones and Lee Adams

A Quiet Thing: Fred Ebb

Also in the 1960s and 1970s

The Writing on the Wall: The 1980s



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