By Stacy Wolf

From Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls" to Nina in "In the Heights" and Elphaba in "Wicked," girl characters in Broadway musicals have belted and crooned their method into the yank psyche. during this full of life ebook, Stacy Wolf illuminates the ladies of yank musical theatre - performers, creators, and characters -- from the beginning of the chilly warfare to the current day, making a new, feminist historical past of the style. relocating from decade to decade, Wolf first highlights the assumptions that circulated approximately gender and sexuality on the time. She then appears to be like on the prime musicals to emphasize the major points of the performs as they relate to girls, and infrequently unearths missed moments of empowerment for woman viewers participants. The musicals mentioned listed below are one of the such a lot loved within the canon--"West part Story," "Cabaret," "A refrain Line," "Phantom of the Opera," and lots of others--with detailed emphasis at the blockbuster "Wicked." alongside the way in which, Wolf demonstrates how the musical because the mid-1940s has truly been ruled by way of women--women onstage, girls within the wings, and ladies offstage as spectators and fans.

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Extra info for Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical

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Adelaide’s songs and her one-two punch lines provide much of the show’s humor, such as: The 1950s: “Marry the Man Today” 37 Adelaide (To Sky, after Nathan has let her down again): Will you see Nathan before you go? Sky: Maybe. ”34 If Adelaide is not played by a strong actor, she can easily become silly and dismissible. Typically in production, however, the stronger actor plays Adelaide, and her character upstages the more conventional ingénue Sarah. Although the men’s gambling links the two romantic plots of Guys and Dolls, the two women occupy completely separate spheres throughout most of the show.

Just as Rosie the Riveter’s flexed bicep advertised women as workers in the early 1940s, June Cleaver’s apron told women that their realm was the kitchen. Gender roles were rigid and clear. White middle-class heterosexual women were supposed to be homemakers and mothers and to fi nd complete satisfaction in those roles. Although many women worked outside the home during World War II, once men returned from the war to reclaim their jobs, women were summarily fi red or pressured to leave. ”5 At the same time, federal support for child-care facilities ended.

The Eliza who sings the fi rst song is musically consistent with the one who sings “I Could Have Danced All Night” in celebration of her achievement. “The Rain in Spain” begins as Eliza still struggles to form words properly, then she succeeds, and fi nally the three—Higgins, Eliza, and Pickering—sing and dance a celebratory tango, perfectly fulfi lling the expectations for a formally integrated musical, moving directly from speech into song and including dance in the most natural and 25 26 Changed for Good organic way.

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