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Ever After Hardcover – 15 Apr 2004

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Product Description

About the Author

Singer writes about music and theater for the New York Times. He is also the proprietor of the independent Chartwell Booksellers in New York City.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mostly unoriginal and generally uninteresting. 13 Aug. 2004
By Matthew Murray - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Primarily Barry Singer's compilation (with some re-editing) of pieces he wrote for a number of publications, perhaps most notably The New York Times, Ever After: The Last Years of Musical Theater and Beyond is intriguing as surface-level look at the last couple of decades in musical theater. It's useful for little else, however--Singer speeds through discussions of important shows, wastes time detailing events and productions of minor importance at best, and never provides a truly engaging or thought-provoking point of view. Instead, he attempts to pass his opinions off as fact, which results in a number of statements of questionable veracity that have been noted by theater writers and critics from the esteemed Mr. Miller to Peter Filichia. Perhaps even more unfortunate is that Singer's chronicle covers exactly the same time period as Ethan Mordden's forthcoming The Happiest Corpse I've Ever Seen: The Last 25 Years of Musical Theatre; Singer's Ever After does not stand up well to Mordden's latest volume, coming across more as a simpleton's whining screed opposite an intelligent and informed gentleman's thoughtful analysis. Ever After is perhaps most enjoyed and appreciated by those with little functional knowledge of the workings of New York theater; they're likely to find Singer's anecdotes more interesting than people who know it's possible cover the subject in considerably more depth than Singer attempts.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment 27 Sept. 2004
By StageStruckLad - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was really looking forward to reading "Ever After" when I saw the favorable quote on the back cover by Larry Gelbart. But the book turned out to be a VERY cursory glance at the past 25 years of musical theater with remarkably little insight. Here are the three things I learned from this book: (1) Mega-musicals are almost always artistically corrupt; (2) Andrew Lloyd Webber is the anti-Christ; (3) The only innovative musicals to arrive in the past 25 years started Off-Broadway (mostly at Playwrights Horizons and Lincoln Center). Most of the hundreds of shows mentioned in this book get one paragraph each, with very few illuminating details. Here's what the author says about "Carrie," perhaps the most famous recent Broadway musical flop: "Carrie, of course, was an instant classic, a monument in the pantheon of failed Broadway musicals. Adapated by Michael Gore (music) and Don Pitchford (lyrics) from the notorious Stephen King novel (and even more notorious film), this $7 million musical celebration of prom vengeance and bad taste materialized at the Virginia Theater on the 12th of May, 1988 and was gone by the 15th, touching all who saw it with a timeless reverence for its indelible, monumental ineptitude." Does that really tell us very much about this musical? Did Barry Singer even see the show? You sure wouldn't know it from this description. And just what, I wonder, makes King's novel "notorious" or the movie "even more notorious"? Almost every show in this book rates that brief a mention, but somehow Singer finds time for an entire chapter of Lloyd Webber-bashing where Sir Andrew invites the author to a cocktail party to show off his newest female singing discovery. The chapter sticks out like a sore thumb, if only because it has nothing to do with the rest of the book, but also because it's one of the few times that Singer goes into any detail. Aside from a few interesting Sondheim quotes, this book is a waste of time.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why? 7 Sept. 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I devoured Barry Singer's "Ever After" in one sitting, and mainly because I was so pumped up by anger that I couldn't put it down. Why on earth would an author write an entire book about a subject for whiche he has such clear hatred? From what I could count, he liked less than five musicals between 1978 and 2004, and thinks that there are less than five people who can "save" musical theater. Whether or not it needs saving is up to the reader, but he knocks the genre flat every chance he can get. He seems to abhor the "standard" of what a musical is, pushing for anything that is remotely boundary-pushing, good or bad. If you cannot appreciate the standard, how do you really know what is pushing the boundaries? In "Ever After," the author makes it clear that either his poison pen or his utter disregard and malevolence toward an entire genre has written this book (without the benefit of an editor or fact checker no less), rather than a feeling human being who can see and hear when inside a theater. Harsh? Absolutely, but the book is written in such sweeping over-reaching tones, that's the only way to read it.
12 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really disappointing 2 May 2004
By Scott E. Miller - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a shame. This book seemed so exciting when I ordered it. But this author doesn't understand musical theatre. He doesn't really know the art form; he just knows a bit about it. So much of the book is so condescending and so dismissive toward a lot of oustanding musicals. And there are so many small factual errors that I have to wonder if he's really seen some of the shows he writes about. Was there no one to proof this book? Did no one reading it know that there is no Oscar for "best soundtrack"? And in addition to factual errors, Singer also fudges the truth from time to time to support his pre-existing conclusions. He doesn't seem to have much respect for the art form, and from what I can tell from his book jacket bio, he's never worked in the musical theatre, so he has virtually no interesting insights into how musicals work. Though there is a bit of useful info in the book, there are far better books than this. Don't bother.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful look at musical theatre 18 Aug. 2006
By Musical Theatre Writer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am currently a working musical theatre writer in New York and I thought this was a comprehensive and compelling look at the past 25 years of musical theatre. Singer is able to look back at the past 25 years of New York theatre and bring it all into clear focus. He is able to give anyone interested writing or attending theatre a context for what is currently on Broadway. I am not from New York, and as a result I grew up only knowing shows that toured or found their way into the community theatre repertoire. Since I have moved to New York and begun learning about Broadway's lush history I have heard many of the names that appear in this book, but have never seen them placed in such an informative context. He puts what was a muddle of names and information into a strong narrative. As someone who takes his writing seriously (although I am a comedy writer) I am constantly trying to learn what has come before me and as I wasn't around to see many of the pieces that Singer describes, his text was invaluable to me. His take on the New York theatre scene is honest and his opinions and assertions are fair. It is not an indictment of Broadway but a hopeful story that assures the reader that good writing in the theatre will always exist and there will always be a place for writers who take pride in the craft and their art-form. This is a must-read book for anyone wanting to work in the theatre today.
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