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Broadway Babies Say Goodnight: Musicals Then and Now Hardcover – 1 Mar 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (1 Mar. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571162029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571162024
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 3.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,110,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

..."a wide ranging and provocative study... whatever your taste in musicals, you will be stimulated by what he has to say."
-"London Daily Telegraph, March 4, 2000
"A columnist and critic offers an irreverent history of the Broadway musical, a diverse and lively art form that, judging from the flood of revivals these days, may be in its death throes. Last year in the Book Review, Robert Gottlieb called this an 'eccentric, funny, shrewd, and somewhat dismaying book.'."
-"New York Times Book Review, May 21, 2000
"A witty, anecdote-stuffed history of the past seventy years in musicals."
-"The New Yorker
"Steyn deserves a standing ovation. . . . His prose is as sharp as his stiletto."
-"Washington Post
"Wise but wicked in his analysis . . . Steyn leaves no turn unstoned. . . . At last, a book of theater criticism with real teeth; it may rankle, but it never bores."
-"OUT
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mark Steyn is a columnist for Britain's Daily Telegraph and Canada's National Post. He is theatre critic of The New Criterion, North American correspondent of The Spectator, and also contributes to The Wall Street Journal and The American Spectator. A Canadian citizen, he lives in New Hampshire and Québec. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Mark Steyn's look at the history of the musical is a fascinating book because it is written both with the head and from the heart. It's undeniably biased (he makes no pretence of that) but that's because it is written with a real passion about a subject that he truly loves, which also makes it a very witty and deceptively easy read.
It's divided into two halves. The first part deals with the mechanics of the musical: book, lyrics, music etc whilst the second is an examination of its place in our culture, with reference to the key `players': Kern, Hammerstein, Sondheim, Lloyd Webber etc. It has snappy chapter titles and a good index which makes it easy for references. Indeed, it's a book I come back to time and again.
Occasionally his enthusiasms or dislikes get the better of him and spill over too subjectively - you will be left in no doubt of his feelings about the work of Lloyd Webber and Sondheim from his extremely cutting remarks - but he ultimately does give a very fair analysis.
More importantly he is also a passionately political writer, who obviously believes the Arts to be an integral part of our society and our lives; there to question and challenge, but also all too often symptomatic of deeper problems.
Although the first chapters tend to be repetitive, this is a well-written and highly engaging book, which deserves to be read by everyone - and particularly by those who think they have no interest in the musical or in the imnportance of the arts in Britain and America today.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Why is a failed musical so much more compelling than a failed anything else? Maybe because of the amount of effort that has gone into an essentially frivolous enterprise. (Yes, I know, as Himmler notoriously remarked to the SS there are always exceptions.) Toxic conservative commentator Mark Steyn is in his frivolous element here. His only non-toxic book fizzes from the preface (that is, to the paperback edition) right on down. If a mega-solecism* is detonated six lines in, well, we'll blame the publishers, shall we? Messrs FABER AND FABER, former house of TS Eliot, you stand arraigned: hang your heads

* That absurdity 'hoves into view' instead of heaves. HOVE IS A PAST TENSE, like gave or made or rode or strove. Nice to see my brand new spellcheck rejecting both hoves and the equally absurd (but worryingly common) hoved. I'm a linguistic conservative, moi
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Format: Paperback
There are so many books that claim to give you an overview of Musical Theatre, and most don't. What you end up with is a list of when things opened, when they closed and why America is the be all and end all of the genre. Steyn who is an adept, witty and accessible writer moves outside of these narrow points of focus. Simply put this book is the perfect primer, that never once becomes a bore to read, it is full of facts, full of gossip and yes as noted by other reviewers some bad jokes, above and beyond that it gives a balanced and fair minded view of the Musical, its development and history, the people, the shows and the trends that have made the genre what it is today. The only bad note is that he should update it more, or at least Faber should ask him to and he should write more on the subject as he clearly knows far more the other hacks that write on the subject. Cannot recommend this highly enough.

UPDATE 2016

It is a little dated now - still a great book and if you read Steyn his wit is probably better served here than in some of his more recent journalism. Still worth a read but could do with a second volume as it doesn't really go near Disney. The end of the British Musical and the rise of In The Heights and Hamilton. About time for an update.
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Format: Paperback
I'm currently writing a thesis on Musical Theatre. Won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say that I've read dozens of books, articles, essays and journals about the form, content, composers, lyrcists, styles, developments etc etc. I've also listens to what seems like hundreds of soundtracks and about as many stage and screen productions too. I'm tired.
Mark Steyn's book made it worthwhile. Subjective, yes - highly so. Witty, pun-loaded, and irreverent - absolutely. Insightful, passionate, inspired, well-structured - check.
This book is absolutely essential reading for anyone with even a passing interest in musical theatre/theatre/drama/songwriting/the arts/showbusiness. Even if you don't, it's a really good read - well-paced, snappy and easily digestible.
Buy this book immediately. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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