By Ethan Mordden
"Music and women are the soul of musical comedy," one critic wrote, early within the Forties. yet this used to be the age that sought after greater than melody and kickline shape its musical exhibits. the shape have been operating on empty for too lengthy, as a formulation for the meeting of spare parts--star comics, prevalent love songs, rumba dancers, Ethel Merman. If Rodgers and Hammerstein hadn't existed, Broadway could have needed to invent them; and Oklahoma! and Carousel got here alongside simply in time to announce the hot formulation for Writing Musicals: do not have a formula.
in its place, begin with powerful characters and surroundings: Oklahoma!'s murderous romantic triangle set opposed to a frontier society that has to benefit what democracy is in an effort to deserve it; or Carousel's dysfunctional kinfolk visible within the context of sophistication and gender war.
With the power and infrequently outrageous humor that Ethan Mordden's readers take without any consideration, the writer levels during the decade's classics--Pal Joey, girl at midnight, in town, Annie Get Your Gun, Phinian's Rainbow, Brigadoon, Kiss Me, Kate, South Pacific. He additionally covers illuminating trivia--the secret agent mystery The girl Comes Across, whose celebrity bought so into her function that she suffered paranoid hallucinations and needed to be hospitalized; the smutty Follow the Girls, damned as "burlesque with a playbill" but last because the longest-run musical in Broadway heritage; Lute Song, within which Mary Martin and Nancy Reagan have been chinese language; and the 1st "concept" musicals, Allegro and Love Life. Amid the thrill, whatever innovative happens. The Twenties created the musical and the Thirties gave it politics. In the Forties, it stumbled on its soul.