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date: 28 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

As the American musical has come of age and matured with continuing vitality, it has developed not just one canon but many. Various performing canons are tailored to specific cultural settings, reflecting venue, expected audiences, available performers, or other factors. There exist separate canons for high schools interested in getting lots of bodies on stage, for community theaters on a budget with a stable of local stars vying for plum roles, for church groups or junior high schools more careful with subject matter, or for college groups looking for something far enough out there to satisfy their rebellious urges. And finally, there exist a critical canon and a teaching canon, for which musicals are chosen in part according to the larger historical and social narratives they support. This chapter is paired with Micaela Baranello’s “Viennese operetta canon formation and the journey to prestige.”

Keywords: Broadway musical, community theater, school theater, East West Players, Deaf West Theatre, Celebration Theater, Chance Theater, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II

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