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date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter studies the reception of Aristophanes in American musical theater, with a focus on three productions that represent the span of approaches to Aristophanes and the variety of twentieth-century musicals. In 1925, Lysistrata, a touring production directed by Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko of the Moscow Art Theatre, brought to the U.S.A. an avant-garde Soviet adaptation of Aristophanes’ play. In 1961, E. Y. Harburg, using music by Jacques Offenbach, adapted Lysistrata as a traditional musical comedy, which he called The Happiest Girl in the World. In 1968, Greenwich Village minister and composer Al Carmines and poet Tim Reynolds turned Aristophanes’ Peace into an anti-Vietnam War protest to be performed at Judson Memorial Church. The chapter studies each production’s approach to adapting Aristophanes for its own time, with particular attention to how music was integrated (or not integrated) into the storytelling and how characters were reshaped to suit authors’ purposes and audiences’ expectations.

Keywords: Aristophanes, Lysistrata, Peace, musical theater, Moscow Art Theatre, Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, E. Y. "Yip" Harburg, Jacques Offenbach, Al Carmines

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