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Cambridge University Press
Expected online publication date:
August 2024
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Book description

Over sixty years after its opening night, West Side Story is perhaps the most famous and beloved of twentieth-century musicals and stands as a colossus of musical and dramatic achievement. It not only helped define a generation of musical theatre lovers but is among the handful of shows that have contributed to our understanding of American musical identity at mid-century. Bringing together contemporary scholars in music, theatre, dance, literature, and performance, this Companion explores this explosive 1950s remake of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and its portrayal of the raw passion, rivalries, jealousy and rage that doom the young lovers to their tragic fate. Organised thematically, chapters range from Broadway's history and precursors to West Side Story; the early careers of its creators; the show's score with emphasis on writing, production, and orchestrations; issues of class, colourism, and racism; New York's gang culture, and how the show's legacy can be found in popular culture throughout the world.


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