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Theater History Books

Anne Frank & Emmett Till: Why I Wrote the Play Anne & Emmett (10/22/2022)

By Janet Langhart Cohen, who wrote the play Anne & Emmett, which has been performed across the U.S. since 2007 (the play is also being published in paperback and Kindle format). An effort to reveal how some of the people the author has known and the seminal events she experienced enabled her to link together, in an imaginary conversation, the seemingly disparate lives of Anne Frank and Emmett Till, two iconic figures who were murdered by societies that couldn’t protect them.

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Miracle of The Music Man: The Classic American Story of Meredith Willson (9/15/2022)

The author brings to life the origins of this classic show, the music behind it, and the unlikely story of its creator. Interweaving behind-the-scenes accounts of people who worked with Willson, Cabaniss looks at his long and unusual career as a composer, conductor, radio personality, and flutist. 208 pages.

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Attack of the Monster Musical: A Cultural History of Little Shop of Horrors (9/8/2022)

Chronicles the unlikely phenomenon of Little Shop of Horrors, the musical by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Looks at the creation of the musical and its place in the contemporary musical theatre canon and examines its afterlives and wider cultural context. Told through archival research and eyewitness accounts, with extensive use of Ashman's personal papers, offering a unique and inspiring study of one of musical theatre's greatest talents. 256 pages.

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Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies (revised and updated) (8/15/2022)

Insider's view of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's musical, Follies. New afterword brings the history of the show forward, diving into recent productions around the world, new recordings, and the continued promise of a film version.

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Scene Shift: U.S. Set Designers in Conversation (8/11/2022)

Showcases contemporary U.S. set design by engaging designers with one another, pairing dialogue and imagery from varied experiences and practices. The conversations include designers (30 in all) who are commercially successful, artistically successful, and those who have existed on the fringes of the theatre world whose work is not necessarily definable, and therefore not as visible. 268 pages.

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Made-Up Asians: Yellowface During the Exclusion Era (7/25/2022)

Traces the development of yellowface in the U.S. context during the Exclusion Era (1862–1940), when Asians faced legal and cultural exclusion from immigration and citizenship. Examines a wide-ranging set of primary sources, including makeup guidebooks, play catalogs, advertisements, biographies, and backstage anecdotes, providing new ways of understanding and categorizing yellowface as theatrical practice and historical subject. 296 pages.

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The Complete Book of 1900s Broadway Musicals (7/15/2022)

Surveys every single book musical that opened during the decade. Each musical has its own entry which features: Plot summary; cast members; creative team; song lists; opening and closing dates; number of performances; critical commentary; film adaptations, recordings, and published scripts, when applicable. Numerous appendixes include a chronology of book musicals by season; chronology of revues; chronology of revivals of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas; a selected discography; filmography; publ...

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The Jukebox Musical: An Interpretive History (6/30/2022)

Comprehensive guide to the unique genre of the jukebox musical, delving into its history to explain why these musicals have quickly become beloved for multiple generations of theatergoers and practitioners.

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The Long Revolution: Writings from the Frontlines of a New American Theatre (6/28/2022)

Gathers sixty years of essays, speeches, and manifestos by the founding mother of the resident professional theatre movement. Topics such as: The Institution as Art-Work, the Profit in NonProfit, Race and a Deepening Aesthetic, and Creativity and the Public Mind. Also includes intimate portraits of artists with whom Fichandler frequently collaborated and director's notes from the major productions that defined her vision. 320 pages

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Deep Are the Roots: Trailblazers Who Changed Black British Theatre (4/27/2022)

Celebrates the pioneers of Black British theatre, beginning in 1825, when Ira Aldridge made history as the first Black actor to play Shakespeare's Othello in the United Kingdom, and ending in 1975 with the success of Britain’s first Black-led theatre company.

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Offstage Observations: Inside Tales of the Not-So-Legitimate Theatre (4/15/2022)

The author introduces Broadway, once upon a time ... taking the reader through a decade's worth of adventures, working his way from a menial pencil sharpener for producer David Merrick toward a career as a full-fledged manager, producer, and drama critic. The book follows the author's progress from the wintry night after his sixteenth birthday, when he unexpectedly finds himself alone on the empty stage of a Broadway theatre, peering out at the silent, empty auditorium lit only by a solitary gh...

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The Golden Age Musicals of Darryl F. Zanuck: The Gentleman Preferred Blondes (3/15/2022)

First book devoted to the musicals that Darryl F. Zanuck produced at Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Pictures, and Twentieth Century Fox. Spotlights how he placed his personal imprint on the genre and how he nurtured and showcased several blonde female stars who headlined the musicals, including Shirley Temple, Alice Faye, Betty Grable, Vivian Blaine, June Haver, Marilyn Monroe, and Sheree North. 320 pages.

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Jazz Age Beauties: The Lost Collection of Ziegfeld Photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston (11/30/2021)

More than 200 publicity stills and photos of some of America's first "It" girls—silent film-era starlets. Accompanying these iconic images are the stories behind them, including accounts from surviving Ziegfeld Girls, as well as ads featuring them.

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West Side Story, Gypsy, and the Art of Broadway Orchestration (11/19/2021)

Routledge Research in Music series. Draws on extensive archival research with original manuscripts to provide a detailed account of the process of orchestration for West Side Story and Gypsy, and their context in the history of Broadway orchestration. Breaking down how the two composers, Leonard Bernstein and Jules Styne, collaborated with orchestrators Sid Ramin, Irwin Kostal, and Robert Ginzler to better understand both these two iconic shows and the importance of orchestration within musical...

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Everything is Choreography: The Musical Theater of Tommy Tune (11/15/2021)

Broadway Legacies series. First full scale book about the career of the director-choreographer Tommy Tune (Grand Hotel, My One and Only, Nine, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, The Will Rogers Follies). "Celebrates and examines with a critical eye his major projects, and summons for readers a glorious period of dance, performance, and theatrical imagination." 288 pages.

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Making Broadway Dance (11/1/2021)

Examines choreography for musical theatre through the lens of dance studies, script analysis, movement research and dramaturgical inquiry ... the choreographic systems of some of Broadway's most influential dance-makers including George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins, Katherine Dunham, Bob Fosse, Savion Glover, Sergio Trujillo, Steven Hoggett and Camille Brown. 232 pages.

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Affair of the Heart: British Theatre from 1992 to 2020 (10/21/2021)

Selected theatre reviews from 1992 to 2020 ... starting each chapter is a brief commentary on the developments of that era and the social, political and cultural context within which this theatre was being produced. Also included are key obituaries and letters in response to reviews written.

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A History of the Theatre Costume Business: Creators of Character (9/30/2021)

Comprehensive book on the subject, as related by award-winning actors and designers, and firsthand by the drapers, tailors, and craftspeople who make the clothes that dazzle on stage. ".. shows that there is as much drama behind the scenes as there is in the performance: famous actors relate their intimate experiences in the fitting room, the glories of gorgeous costumes, and the mortification when things go wrong, while the costume makers explain how famous shows were created with toil, tears,...

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Working Backstage: A Cultural History and Ethnography of Technical Theater Labor (9/20/2021)

Illuminates the work of New York City's theater technicians, shining a light on the essential contributions of unionized stagehands, carpenters, electricians, sound engineers, properties artisans, wardrobe crews, makeup artists, and child guardians. Based on the author's (a former theater technician herself) archival research and interviews with more than 100 backstage technicians, members of the New York locals of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

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Balanchine’s Apprentice (9/14/2021)

In this long-awaited memoir, dancer and choreographer John Clifford offers a highly personal look inside the day-to-day operations of the New York City Ballet and its creative mastermind, George Balanchine. Balanchine’s Apprentice is the story of Clifford―an exceptionally talented artist―and the guiding inspiration for his life’s work in dance.

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Shakespearean (9/7/2021)

When Robert McCrum began his recovery from a life-changing stroke, described in My Year Off, he discovered that the only words that made sense to him were snatches of Shakespeare. Unable to travel or move as he used to, McCrum found the First Folio became his ‘book of life’, an endless source of inspiration through which he could embark on ‘journeys of the mind’, and see a reflection of our own disrupted times.

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Pick a Pocket Or Two: A History of British Musical Theatre (9/1/2021)

The full history of the British musical, from The Beggar's Opera (1728) to the present, with an interest in isolating the unique qualities of the form and its influence on the American model. Covers not only the shows and their authors but the personalities as well.

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A History of Cleveland's Playhouse Square (8/16/2021)

Part of "Landmarks" series.

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Ever After: Forty Years of Musical Theater and Beyond, 1977-2019 (8/1/2021)

Ever After remains far more than a detailed show-by-show history. With nearly one hundred first-person interviews, it is also a definitive behind-the-scenes account of how those shows were made. Singer invites the people who created the last forty years of musical theater on and off Broadway to tell their own stories. From an unparalleled look at A Chorus Line's final bow through the revolutionary evolution of Sunday in the Park with George, as recounted by Stephen Sondheim, the tragic triumph ...

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Hamilton and the New Revolution (7/17/2021)

With Hamilton and the New Revolution, musical theatre scholar, director, and fanboy Scott Miller takes you on a phantasmagorical journey through the second decade of the millennium, every stop along the way a Broadway musical truly like no other, all of them brilliant, original, and unique, all pointing toward an even brighter future for the art form and all the young artists creating amazing new work for us every day. Miller’s eighth book of in-depth exploration takes another deep dive into...

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American Vaudeville (7/1/2021)

At the heart of American Vaudeville is one strange, unsettling fact: for nearly fifty years, from the late nineteenth century to the 1930s, vaudeville was everywhere—then, suddenly, it was nowhere. This book tells the story of what was once the most popular form of entertainment in the country using lists, creation myths, thumbnail biographies, dreams, and obituaries. A lyric history—part social history, part song—American Vaudeville sits at the nexus between poetry, experimental nonfiction, an...

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An Illustrated History of British Theatre and Performance (6/30/2021)

Paperback version of Robert Leach's 2019 hardcover book. Chronicles the history and development of theatre from the Roman era to the present day, restoring to the foreground of this evolution the contributions of women, gay people, and ethnic minorities, as well as the regional theatres of Wales and Scotland. Highly-illustrated chapters trace the development of theatre through major plays from each period; evaluations of playwrights; contemporary dramatic theory; acting and acting companies; da...

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Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway (6/29/2021)

Updated edition of 2000 book by Eve Golden about the most popular musical comedy star during the two decades preceding World War I. The first wife of legendary producer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Held was the brains and inspiration behind his Follies. Together, they brought the Paris scene to New York, complete with lavish costumes and sets and a chorus of stunningly beautiful women, dubbed "The Anna Held Girls." She concealed her Jewish background and her daughter from a previous marriage, and suff...

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The Best American Short Plays 2018-2019 (6/1/2021)

Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paula Vogel once said that theater helps us learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable with each other. Revolving around the theme of "this is who we are," the one-act plays in this latest edition of the Best American Short Plays series (now in its ninth decade) explore the thoughtful ways in which playwrights are wrestling to make sense of our world today.

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Drama (5/26/2021)

David Rockwell's fascination with theater has long informed his built work, which includes hotels, restaurants, and cultural institutions. Explores the core principles that Rockwell uses to enhance the impact of his architecture, with contributions from experts across the creative world. A new insight into the work of an important contemporary architect and a compelling case for the virtues of interdisciplinary collaboration

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The Complete Book of 1910s Broadway Musicals (5/26/2021)

Newest in Dan Dietz' series of musicals by the decade. covers all 312 musicals that opened on Broadway during this decade, including The Balkan Princess, The Kiss Waltz, Naughty Marietta, The Firefly, Very Good Eddie, Leave It to Jane, Watch Your Step, See America First, and La-La-Lucille. Dietz places each musical in its historical context, including the women’s suffrage movement and the decade’s defining historical event, World War I. Each entry features: Plot summary; Cast members; Creative ...

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50 Women in Theatre (5/25/2021)

Since 1660 when actresses first began performing on the English stage, women have forged bright careers in theatre, while men called the shots. Four hundred years of women playwrights, from Aphra Behn to Caryl Churchill, yet plays by women make up less than a quarter of staged productions in the UK, leading to a scarcity of roles for women. With women buying most of the tickets, theatre productions risk losing their relevance to modern culture if they fail to represent the many and varied lives...

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Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way (5/25/2021)

For readers of Hidden Figures and Something Wonderful, Footnotes is the story of New York in the roaring twenties and the very first Broadway show with an all-black cast and creative team to succeed―and the indelible mark on our popular culture.

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Gershwin in Pittsburgh (Images of America) (5/10/2021)

The great American composer George Gershwin was a product of the energetic Jazz Age city of New York. Yet Pittsburgh may have been his adopted town, through road tours of his Broadway shows, his appearances as a concert pianist, and his myriad associates with ties to the Steel City. Meticulously researched, Gershwin in Pittsburgh chronicles these surprisingly consequential connections. Theatrical venues such as the Nixon and Alvin Theatres and colleagues like Ned Wayburn, Oscar Levant, George S...

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The Big Parade: Meredith Willson's Musicals from The Music Man to 1491 (5/9/2021)

The author uses newly uncovered letters, manuscripts, and production files to reveal Meredith Willson's unusual combination of experiences in his pre-Broadway career that lead him to compose The Music Man at the age of 55. McHugh also gives an in-depth look at the reception of The Music Man and examines the strengths and weaknesses of Willson's other three musicals, with his sustained commitment to innovation and novelty. Packed with new revelations about the processes involved in writing these...

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Help is on the Way: From Places You Don’t Know About Today… (5/1/2021)

In today’s complex and challenging world, we often find ourselves facing problems for which there seem to be no answers. In this practical and inspirational book, songwriter and author David Friedman explores the idea that there are ALWAYS answers, and they often come in ways we don’t expect, if only we are willing to be open to the possibilities. In 1990, David wrote the song, Help is on the Way, in response to the AIDS crisis. First sung by Nancy LaMott, it has since become the theme song for...

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A History of Theater on Cape Cod (4/26/2021)

From the beginning of theater on the Cape in 1916 when a group of artists and writers in Provincetown mounted a production of a one-act play, Bound East for Cardiff, by a little-known playwright, Eugene O'Neill. It grew into the constantly expanding theater universe it is today. The theatrical descendants of O'Neill and the Provincetown Players continue to present classical drama, contemporary hits and new, experimental works to audiences that have come to expect the best. A tour of the theater...

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Boston's Theater District (Images of America) (4/26/2021)

Downtown Boston once thrived as a dazzling bohemia of burlesque halls, movie palaces, dime museums, and regal stages. By 1915, more than 20 theaters crowded along a quarter-mile stretch of lower Washington Street. The theater district gave birth to vaudeville and incubated some of America's most darling musicals and daring new dramas en route to Broadway. Theatergoers flocked to Tremont and Boylston Streets to watch the latest tryouts. Some productions flopped; others, like Oklahoma! and Paul R...

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And This is My Friend Sandy: Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend, London Theatre and Gay Culture (3/25/2021)

This book situates the production of The Boy Friend and the Players' Theatre in the context of a post-war London and reads The Boy Friend, and Wilson's later work, as exercises in contemporary camp. It argues for Wilson as a significant and transitional figure both for musical theatre and for modes of homosexuality in the context of the pre-Wolfenden 1950s.

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Paris and the Musical: The City of Light on Stage and Screen (3/18/2021)

Paris and the Musical explores how the famous city has been portrayed on stage and screen, investigates why the city has been of such importance to the genre and tracks how it has developed as a trope over the 20th and 21st centuries. From global hits An American in Paris, Gigi, Les Misérables, Moulin Rouge! and The Phantom of the Opera to the less widely-known Bless the Bride, Can-Can, Irma la Douce and Marguerite, the French capital is a central character in an astounding number of Broadwa...

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The Untold Stories of Broadway, Volume 4 (2/27/2021)

Includes over 30 new interviews, features hundreds of theatre professionals discussing everything that makes Broadway essential. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Broadway Advocacy Coalition.

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No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century (2/9/2021)

This book chronicles one hundred years of dramatic developments in ballet, modern, and experimental dance for stage and screen in Europe and North America. The volume is magisterial in scope, encompassing the history of theatrical dance from 1900 through 2000. Beginning with turn-of-the-century dancer-choreographers like Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Michel Fokine, and a bit later Vaslav Nijinsky, and proceeding through the profusion of dance styles performed today, the book provides an unparall...

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Staging America: Twenty-First-Century Dramatists (1/28/2021)

Many of the American playwrights who dominated the 20th century are no longer with us: Edward Albee, Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Neil Simon, August Wilson and Wendy Wasserstein. A new generation, whose careers began in this century, has emerged, and done so when the theatre itself, along with the society with which it engages, was changing. Capturing the cultural shifts of 21st-century America, Staging America explores the lives and works of 8 award-winning playwrights – including Ayad Akhtar, ...

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Greek Theater in Ancient Sicily (1/27/2021)

Examines the origins and development of ancient drama, and particularly comedy, within a Sicilian and southern Italian context. Each chapter explores a different category of theatrical evidence, from the literary (fragments of Epicharmus and cult traditions) to the artistic (phylax vases) and the archaeological (theater buildings)

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Avant-Garde Nationalism at the Dublin Gate Theatre (1/15/2021)

In 1928, Hilton Edwards and Micheál mac Liammóir founded the Dublin Gate Theatre, which quickly became renowned for producing stylistically and dramaturgically innovative plays in a uniquely avant-garde setting. While the Gate’s lasting importance to the history of Irish theater is generally attributed to its introduction of experimental foreign drama to Ireland, Van den Beuken shines a light on the Gate’s productions of several new Irish playwrights, such as Denis Johnston, Mary Manning, David...

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The Theatre of Rupert Goold: Radical approaches to adaptation and new writing (11/12/2020)

Since the late 1990s, Rupert Goold has garnered a reputation as one of the UK's most exciting and provocative theatre directors. His exhilarating, risk-taking productions of both classic texts and new plays have travelled from regional stages to the National Theatre, the West End, Broadway and beyond. Through his artistic directorship of Northampton's Royal & Derngate, the touring theatre company Headlong and London's Almeida Theatre, he has radically transformed, not only the companies themsel...

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Circle in the Square Theatre: A Comprehensive History (11/1/2020)

Records the seven-decade history of this distinguished theatre from its nightclub origins to its current status as a Tony Award-winning Broadway institution. Based on years of research as well as interviews conducted with Circle in the Square's major contributing artists.

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Sistuhs in the Struggle: An Oral History of Black Arts Movement Theater and Performance (10/15/2020)

Documents how black women theater artists and activists—many of whom worked behind the scenes as directors, designers, producers, stage managers, and artistic directors—disseminated the black aesthetic and emboldened their communities. Draws on nearly thirty original interviews with well-known artists such as Ntozake Shange and Sonia Sanchez, as well as less-studied figures including distinguished lighting designer Shirley Prendergast, dancer and choreographer Halifu Osumare, and three-time To...

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Butoh: Cradling Empty Space (10/1/2020)

Approaches the avant-garde Japanese performance art form of butoh from a cross-cultural, gender studies, and scientific perspective. From twenty years of research, interviews with some of the world’s top practitioners, historical documents, and rare photographs.

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Victorians on Broadway: Literature, Adaptation, and the Modern American Musical (7/13/2020)

A wide-ranging interdisciplinary study of live stage musicals from the mid- to late twentieth century adapted from British literature written between 1837 and 1886. Investigates musical dramatizations of works by Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Christina Rossetti, Robert Louis Stevenson, and others ... reveals what these musicals teach us about the Victorian books from which they derive and considers their enduring popularity and impact on our modern culture. Explores themes of race, religio...

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