- 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
In the years since 1954, the British musical has in various ways represented the changes that have occurred in social and political attitudes. The camp style of Salad Days and The Boy Friend encodes its critique of the Conservative government’s repressive policies of heteronormative conformity in the early 1950s by exploiting popular traditions of pantomime and music hall performance to valorize an emergent gay sensibility, while the theatre of Joan Littlewood at Stratford East utilized these same popular forms in the construction of a socialist theatre capable of articulating a working-class culture. These two recurrent conceptions of alternative political performance—the subversive queer/camp strategy and the Marxian aesthetic of alternative politics and culture—interact and are combined to startling effect in Billy Elliot, whose dialectical arguments around the relationship between class and gender/sexual orientation, popular and ‘high’ art provide a prime example of British theatre at its most socially aware.
Robert Gordon is Professor of Theatre and Performance and Director of the Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Publications include essays on post-war British theatre, South African theatre, Shakespeare, Wilde, Pirandello and Stoppard: Text and Performance (1991). His broad experience as actor and director informs the survey of modern acting theory in The Purpose of Playing (2006). Harold Pinter: the Theatre of Power was published in 2012 and his production, Pinter: In Other Rooms, toured to Berlin, Prague, Budapest and Thessaloniki in 2011. In 2012 he directed Kander and Ebb’s Steel Pier in Brno and he is co-editing the Oxford Handbook of the British Musical.
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