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- DescriptionThe new musical theatre of Stephen Sondheim shuns the traditional story of love triumphant, probing instead the more disturbing issues of contemporary life. Confident that the musical is America's greatest original contribution to theatre, Joanne Gordon explicates the works of Sondheim to repudiate the common perception of the genre as mere escapist entertainment. Gordon tes that Sondheim tackles real themes, that he has fear of introducing pain, trauma, and complex ideas onto the Broadway stage. Tracing Sondheim's career from his initial success as lyricist for West Side Story and Gypsy to the opening of Into the Woods, Gordon demonstrates that the value of Sondheim's work obviously lies in its seriousness of theme coupled with its disturbing content; less obvious, but equally important, is Sondheim's invative use of form. From A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum through Anyone Can Whistle, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods, Sondheim's music and lyrics prove to be inextricably woven into the fabric of the entire work. Both music and lyrics, Gordon stresses, grow out of the dramatic idea inherent in the show's concept and themselves become part of the drama that previous theatre songs would only reflect. Sondheim, Gordon tes, asks much of an audience that may t want to be challenged. In short, to enjoy a Sondheim play, the audience must participate intellectually. The audience willing to expend the effort will t be cheated, Gordon insists, because Sondheim, throughout his career, has demonstrated that musical theatre can be serious, poignant, and still exhilarating.
- Author BiographyJoanne Gordon is Head of the Directing Program at California State University, Long Beach; among her numerous productions she lists Sweeney Todd, which was performed at the Kennedy Center as part of the 1985 American College Theater Festival, and Sunday in the Park with George, which marked that production's world nonprofessional premiere.
- Author(s)Joanne Gordon
- PublisherSouthern Illinois University Press
- Date of Publication31/12/1990
- SubjectMusic & Dance
- Place of PublicationCarbondale
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintSouthern Illinois University Press
- Content Noteillustrations
- Weight2100 g
- Width190 mm
- Height241 mm
- Spine25 mm
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