- The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical
- Notes on Contributors
- Ballad Opera: Commercial Song in Enlightenment Garb
- Between Opera and Musical: Theatre Music in Early Nineteenth-Century London
- Comic Opera: English Society in Gilbert and Sullivan
- English Musical Comedy, 1890–1924
- English West End Revue: The First World War and After
- Musical Comedy in the 1920s and 1930s: Mister Cinders and Me and My Girl as Class-Conscious Carnival
- West End Royalty: Ivor Novello and English Operetta, 1917–1951
- The American Invasion: The Impact of Oklahoma! and Annie Get Your Gun
- ‘Ordinary People’ and British Musicals of the Post-War Decade
- After Anger: The British Musical of the Late 1950s
- ‘I’m Common and I Like ’Em’: Representations of Class in the Period Musical after Oliver!
- Towards a British Concept Musical: The Shows of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse
- The Pop-Music Industry and the British Musical
- ‘Everybody’s Free to Fail’: Subsidized British Revivals of the American Canon
- Les Misérables: From Epic Novel to Epic Musical
- ‘Humming the Sets’: Scenography and the Spectacular Musical from Cats to The Lord of the Rings
- Billy Elliot and Its Lineage: The Politics of Class and Sexual Identity in British Musicals since 1953
- Noël Coward: Sui Generis
- Joan Littlewood: Collaboration and Vision
- Lionel Bart: British Vernacular Musical Theatre
- Tim Rice: The Pop Star Scenario
- Cameron Mackintosh: Control, Collaboration, and the Creative Producer
- Andrew Lloyd Webber: Haunted by the Phantom
- The Beggar’s Legacy: Playing with Music and Drama, 1920–2003
- <i>Mamma Mia!</i> and the Aesthetics of the Twenty-First-Century Jukebox Musical
- Attracting the Family Market: Shows with Cross-Generational Appeal
- Genre Counterpoints: Challenges to the Mainstream Musical
- Some Yesterdays Always Remain: Black British and Anglo-Asian Musical Theatre
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.
Dominic Symonds is Reader in Drama at the University of Lincoln. His research focuses on post-structuralist approaches to the musical. He is joint editor of Studies in Musical Theatre (Intellect) and founded the international conference Song, Stage and Screen. He is also co-convenor of the music theatre working group of the International Federation for Theatre Research. He has recently co-edited two collections of essays for the IFTR, The Legacy of Opera: Reading Music Theatre as Experience and Performance (Rodopi, 2013) and Gestures of Music Theatre: The Performativity of Song and Dance (OUP, 2013). His monographs We’ll Have Manhattan: The Early Work of Rodgers and Hart (OUP) and Broadway Rhythm: Imaging the City in Song (University of Michigan Press), will appear in 2014.
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