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date: 24 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the impact of ‘the American invasion’: a slew of Broadway musicals led by Oklahoma! and Annie Get Your Gun that captivated and shocked audiences when they opened in 1947 in London. Arriving in a country mired in post-war rationing and rehabilitation, they offered a sharp contrast to the typical material on the British musical stage. To understand the transatlantic dynamics that are its context, it is useful to consider how contemporary America projected itself, and how the British perceived Americans. With Hollywood images of virile action heroes, and with American GIs stationed on British soil, Brits encountered a new and forceful sexuality that the energy of the post-war Broadway imports evoked. As the staid morals of the pre-war era gave way to the excitement of the new, the British musical responded with the punchy riposte of a new Novello show: Gay’s the Word.

Keywords: Annie Get Your Gun, Gay’s the Word, GI, masculinity, Ivor Novello, post-war culture, Oklahoma!, Rodgers and Hammerstein

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