In the decades before the Second World War, popular musical theatre was one of the most influential forms of entertainment. This is the first book to reconstruct early popular musical theatre as a transnational and highly cosmopolitan industry that included everything from revues and operettas to dance halls and cabaret. Bringing together contributors from Britain and Germany, this collection moves beyond national theatre histories to study Anglo-German relations at a period of intense hostility and rivalry. Chapters frame the entertainment zones of London and Berlin against the wider trading routes of cultural transfer, where empire and transatlantic song and dance produced, perhaps for the first time, a genuinely international culture. Exploring adaptations and translations of works under the influence of political propaganda, this collection will be of interest both to musical theatre enthusiasts and to those interested in the wider history of modernism.
Len Platt is Professor of Modern Literature at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His research interests are modern literature, James Joyce and popular musical theatre and his publications include James Joyce: Texts and Contexts (2011), Modernism and Race (edited, 2010), Joyce, Race and 'Finnegans Wake' (2006), Musical Comedy on the West End Stage, 1890-1939 (2004) and Aristocracies of Fiction (2003). Tobias Becker is a lecturer at the Freie Universitat Berlin. His research focuses upon the history of popular culture and urban history in Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and his publications include Inszenierte Moderne. Populares Theater in Berlin und London, 1880-1930 (2014) and Die Stadt der tausend Freuden. Vergnugungskultur um 1900 (edited with Anna Littmann and Johanna Niedbalski, 2011). David Linton is a theatre practitioner and an associate lecturer at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His research interests include multidisciplinary participatory arts practice, popular musical theatre, Black performance and the formation and representation of national and cultural identities.