- 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
Musical comedy in London’s West End theatres during and on either side of the Edwardian period is reassessed against the traditional narrative of period obsolescence and Americanization. This is done through close readings of audience capacity and demographics, musical economics, musical topics, script and lyric writing (including humour), standard plots, performance practice, and opulent production values. The genre’s celebration of modernity and investment not only in the British Empire but also in its own merchandise and afterlife of amateur productions is analysed. Special reference is made to the producer George Edwardes; the composers Lionel Monckton, Paul Rubens, and Howard Talbot; the lyricist Adrian Ross; the stars Gertie Millar and George Grossmith; and the shows The Arcadians, To-Night’s the Night, The Quaker Girl, and A Country Girl. The genre’s particular appeal during the First World War is also covered. Research questions for the future are raised.
Stephen Banfield is a musicologist and Emeritus Professor at the University of Bristol. His books include Sondheim's Broadway Musicals (1993), winner of the Kurt Weill and Lowens awards, Jerome Kern (2006), and several on British art music of the earlier 20th century. Future publications will include social histories of music in an English region (the west country) and in the British Empire, and a study of classical music's propensity to depict soundscapes.
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