American Musicals in the UK

CHGriffiths Profile PhotoCHGriffiths Profile Photo
Leading Actor
Leading Actor
American Musicals in the UK#1
Posted: 11/8/12 at 8:38am
Hello all,
bit of a personal request I am afraid. I am currently doing my University Dissertation and am using the topic of "American Musicals in the UK" as my subject.

What i'm wondering is, if anyone here knows of any books, tv documentaries, journals or online articles that look into this topic. The things I am focusing on is audience reception of the same show in UK comparred to USA, changes that are made to shows to allow them to work for a UK audience and the success of different type of USA musicals in UK. Also briefly looking into why things such as "Next to Normal," "Bloody blody Andrew Jackson," and other 'contemporary' USA musicals that have failed to cross the pond at all.

If anyone knows of anything AT ALL that may help, PLEASE let me know!

"If you talk about my family I will punch you in the fanny so hard it'll end up on your face... oh, looks like someone beat me to it!" - Dawn French
Nickhutson Profile PhotoNickhutson Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Broadway Star
American Musicals in the UK#2
Posted: 11/8/12 at 1:19pm
(Recent) US Musicals that have failed here:

Spring Awakening
Drowsy Chaperone
Every Sondheim show ever

Next to Normal won't come here because it's not a story the British can relate to; the majority of British theatre audiences are made up of coach trips from the "provinces" who'd rather see a show like Grease or Dirty Dancing than a depressing snooze fest with a title that means nothing to no-one. Harsh, but true :)
Nick Hutson Co-Presenter/Producer MusicalTalk - The UK's Musical Theatre Podcast
Chorus Member
Chorus Member
American Musicals in the UK#2
Posted: 11/8/12 at 2:00pm
Sweeney Todd?
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Broadway Star
Broadway Star
American Musicals in the UK#3
Posted: 11/8/12 at 3:06pm
Unfortunatly there's not a great deal written on your subject-I'm currently writing my PhD which in part deals with American musicals in the UK. What you'll probably find more useful is journal articles (which will have some more reccent examples) or general books about the American musical which will at least refer to British transfers.

One that springs to mind (because I was using it today) is 'The Theatre will Rock by Elizabeth Wollman, which deals with 'rock musicals' and refers in part to UK productions. Another is 'Directors and the New Musical Drama; British and American Musical Theatre in the 1980s and 1990s'

Nickhutson-while I disagree with some of the 'failures' you list that has to be the most amusing description of N2N I've ever read!
Maybe I'm on nobody's side
bob8rich Profile Photobob8rich Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
American Musicals in the UK#4
Posted: 11/8/12 at 3:35pm
SO, nick, you are asserting that no one in the UK suffers from bipolar disorder or any other form of mental illness?

Obviously, N2N will not have a mass popular appeal - and it didn't have in the US either. But there are MILLIONS of people in the UK (myself included) who can very deeply relate to it. I found N2N THE most profoundly emotionally charged musical I have ever seen (each of the 4 times I saw it). It may be many things but a "snorefest" it is most certainly not.

Also, there is the issue of what constitutes a "failure". Personally I would judge a show by its artistic merits rather than merely by how much money it generates. (thus I would disagree that Sondheim shows have "failed" in the UK - just because they do not pack in crowds does not make them a failure).

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Updated On: 11/8/12 at 03:35 PM
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
American Musicals in the UK#5
Posted: 11/8/12 at 4:59pm
I have a book which is called our musical ourselves which discusses the social history of ameican musicals but also talks of british imports like phantom and les mis
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt


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