Over the last hundred years, musical theatre artists – from Berlin to Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim – have developed a form that corresponds directly to the Americanization of the increasingly Jewish New York audience; and that audience’s aspirations and concerns have played out in the shows themselves. Musicals thus became a paradigm which instructed newcomers in how to assimilate while correspondingly envisioning “American Dream” America as democratic and inclusive. Broadway musicals still continue to function today as “cultural Ellis Islands” for fringe populations seeking acceptance into the nation’s mainstream – including women, blacks, Latinos, and gays – all essentially modeled upon the Jewish example. Stuart J. Hecht offers a fascinatingexamination of the relationship between Jews, assimilation, and the changing face of the American musical.
“Acknowledging the important role of Jews in developing the twentieth-century Broadway musical, Hecht argues that Jews shaped the musical ‘to represent their grappling with the promise of the American Dream.’ Summing Up: Recommended. Large collections supporting work by upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, researchers, and professionals” – CHOICE
“Hecht’s work is thorough and entertaining. If the play’s the thing, then, like the stage director he is, Hecht brings just the right light and sound to illuminate and amplify the actors and their scripts, bringing us deeply into the work of great composers and lyricists who were the geniuses of the Broadway stage. To open the pages of this book is to raise the curtain for an important story, delightfully presented, which will leave the reader calling for the author to take a bow!” – Journal of Synagogue Music
“Stuart J. Hecht, in his entertaining and downright brilliant Transposing Broadway, proves that scholars have only just scratched the surface of this significant subject, opening a deep vein of gold that reveals just how important the contributions of Jewish artists have been in developing the American musical . . . for me, Transposing Broadway [is] the apotheosis of musical theatre studies.” – Theatre History Studies
“Hecht’s passion for musical theatre shines through this work that joins a growing body of literature on American Jews’ contributions to the development of our national drama and culture.” – Heather S. Nathans, Department Chair of Drama and Dance, Tufts University, USA
“Much has been written about the ‘integrated’ musical. Transposing Broadway is perhaps the first ‘integrated’ study of the Broadway musical, weaving together a spectacularly rich variety of shows and ideas with wit and insight. Eschewing traditional chronology, it is a freewheeling, thought-provoking demonstration of the many ways Broadway mirrored the American experience – specifically Jewish-American experience – over the course of the twentieth century and into the first years of the twenty-first. I think readers will find it full of discoveries and wisdom about cherished Broadway musicals.” – Harley Erdman, Graduate Program Director and Associate Professor of Dramaturgy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA
“Hecht is a top-notch connoisseur of the American musical theater. He navigates its rich landscape with confidence, taking his readers on an original journey that is erudite and illuminating. A splendid book.” – Edna Nahshon, Professor of Hebrew and Performance Studies, The Jewish Theological Seminary, USA
About the Author
Stuart J. Hecht is Associate Professor of Theatre at Boston College, USA.