Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and Musicals
"A much-needed study of the impact of rock music on the musical theater and its resulting challenges, complexities, failures, and successes. Anyone interested in Broadway will learn a great deal from this book."
---William Everett, author of The Musical: A Research Guide to Musical Theatre
"As Wollman weaves her historical narrative, she compellingly returns to . . . the conflict between the aesthetics and ideologies of rock music and the disciplined and commercial practices of the musical stage."
---Theatre Research International
"This well-written account puts the highs and lows of producing staged rock musicals in New York City into perspective and is well worth reading for the depth of insight it provides."
---Studies in Musical Theatre
Despite the genreâs influence and fame, there are still some critics who claim that the term Ârock musicalâ is an oxymoron. The relationship between rock and the musical theater has been stormy from the start, and even the comparatively recent success of Rent has done little to convince theater producers that rock musicals are anything but highly risky ventures. Elizabeth L. Wollman explores the reasons behind these problematic connections and looks at the socioeconomic forces that underlie aesthetic decisions. She weighs the influence on the rock musical by mass media, sound, and recording technology, and the economic pressures that have affected New York theater in general over the past three decades. Finally, Wollman offers a meditation on the state of the musical, its relation to rock, and, ultimately, its future.
Packed with candid commentary by members of New York's vibrant theater community, The Theater Will Rock traces the rock musicalâs evolution over nearly fifty years, in popular productions such as Hair, The Who's Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Little Shop of Horrors, Rent, and Mamma Mia!Âand in notable flops such as The Capeman.
Elizabeth L. Wollman is Assistant Professor of Music at Baruch College of theÂ City University of New York.
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