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We'll Have Manhattan: The Early Work of Rodgers & Hart: Book by Dominic Symonds

We'll Have Manhattan: The Early Work of Rodgers & Hart

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ISBN: 9780199929481    Publisher: Oxford University Press Year of publishing: 2015     Format:  Hardback No of Pages: 360        Language: English
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart are one of the defining duos of musical theater, contributing dozens of classic songs to the Great American Songbook and working together on over 40 shows before Hart's...Read more
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart are one of the defining duos of musical theater, contributing dozens of classic songs to the Great American Songbook and working together on over 40 shows before Hart's death. With hit after hit on both Broadway and the West End, they produced many of the celebrated songs of the '20s and '30s-such as "Manhattan," "The Lady is a Tramp," and "Bewitched"-that remain popular favorites with great cultural resonance today. Yet the early years of these iconic collaborators have remained largely unexamined. We'll Have Manhattan: The Early Work of Rodgers & Hart provides unprecedented insight into the first, formative period of Rodgers and Hart's collaboration. Author Dominic Symonds examines the pair and their work from their first meeting in 1919 to their brief flirtation with Hollywood in the early 1930s as they left the theater to explore sound film. During this time, their output was prodigious, progressive, and experimental. They developed their characteristic style and a new approach to musical theater writing that provided the groundwork for the development of the Broadway musical.
Symonds also analyzes the theme of identity that runs throughout Rodgers and Hart's work, how the business side of the theater affected their artistic output, and their continued experimentation with a song's dramatic role within a narrative. We'll Have Manhattan goes beyond a biographical or historical look at Rodgers and Hart's early years-it's also an accessible but authoritative study of their material. Symonds documents their early shows and provides deft critical and analytical commentary on their evolving practice and its influence on the subsequent development of the American musical. Fans of musical theater and devotees of Rodgers and Hart will find this definitive exploration of their early works to be an essential addition to their Broadway library.
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About the author: Dominic Symonds
Dominic Symonds is Reader in Drama at the University of Lincoln and founding editor of the journal Studies in Musical Theatre. He is also a director and writer... Read more
Dominic Symonds is Reader in Drama at the University of Lincoln and founding editor of the journal Studies in Musical Theatre. He is also a director and writer for musical theatre.
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Review:
[A] superb study ... The author succeeds in all respects ... The numerous examples of songs and musical phrases provide excellent insights into Hart and Rodgers's methods ... This outstanding...Read more
[A] superb study ... The author succeeds in all respects ... The numerous examples of songs and musical phrases provide excellent insights into Hart and Rodgers's methods ... This outstanding volume will be a required resource for those interested in musical theater. D. B. Wilmeth, CHOICE In his new book, Dominic Symonds gives a detailed, scholarly account of the work produced by Rodgers and Hart during the first 15 years or so of their partnership... I look forward to subsequent additions and editions (as Hart might have said) as he continues his research. Jewish Chronicle, Daniel Snowman In We'll Have Manhattan: The Early Work of Rodgers and Hart, Dominic Symonds deftly explores the period from 1919 to 1931 when the celebrated team did their chronological and artistic growing up. Impeccably researched and sensitively written, this essential book offers detailed but accessibly presented musical and lyrical analyses as well as insights into two young geniuses as they were becoming, but had not yet become, the icons of the American songbook we now know them to be. Highly recommended. Jim Lovensheimer, author of South Pacific: Paradise Rewritten Symonds writes engagingly and colorfully, yet with exhaustive research and expertise, about these lesser-known shows and the personalities that created them; scholars and fans alike will benefit from this much-needed study of Rodgers and Hart's early years. He upends the narrative of how the Broadway musical became 'integrated,' arguing that having songs fit plots and serve characters was as much a response to external pressures - from critics, producers, and a sense of America's struggle for identity - as an artistic pursuit. Full of context and history, this study also pauses to dig into the material; this book is worth reading just to watch Symonds examine 'Thou Swell' from every conceivable musical and cultural angle.-Jessica Sternfeld, author of The Megamusical
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