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The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts$
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Mark Thornton Burnett and Adrian Streete

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748635238

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635238.001.0001

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Shakespeare and Musical Theatre

Shakespeare and Musical Theatre

Chapter:
(p.185) 10 Shakespeare and Musical Theatre
Source:
The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts
Author(s):

Fran Teague

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635238.003.0011

This chapter concentrates on one narrow branch of musical theatre — the Broadway musical. It addresses what a musical is and why musicals have an especial affinity for Shakespeare. It describes The Boys from Syracuse, Kiss Me, Kate and West Side Story. Yet these three do not stand alone: The Shakespeare Music Catalogue offers many other instances of generative Shakespeare texts and their musical theatre derivatives, and that catalogue is by no means complete. Shakespeare became a mainstay of American theatre in the twenty-five years leading up to the American Revolution, as an increased concern with England sparked interest in his plays. A musical that attends to Shakespeare is likely to attend to gender, class and race as well, but not in any solemn or profound way. The jokes are suggestive or vulgar, the music and dancing energetic and the principal barrier to success is too much respect for the original work.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, musical theatre, Broadway musical, The Boys from Syracuse, West Side Story, The Shakespeare Music Catalogue

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