Highbrow/lowdown

Theater, Jazz, and the Making of the New Middle Class

Highbrow/lowdown

Highbrow/Lowdown explores the twentieth century's first culture war and the forces that permanently transformed American theater into the art form we know today. The arrival of jazz in the 1920s sparked a cultural revolution that was impossible to contain. The music affected every stratum of U.S. society and culture, confusing and challenging long-entrenched hierarchies based on class, race, and ethnicity. Jazz was considered the first distinctively American art form, and its dissemination across the globe served to launch the United States as a cultural force to be reckoned with. The Jazz Age was also the era of vaudeville, burlesque, and musical comedy, popular entertainments that were quick to cash in on the jazz craze. But jazz was much more than the music. It was also a powerful cultural force that brought African American, Jewish, and working-class culture into the white Protestant mainstream. When the influence of jazz spread to legitimate theater, playwrights, producers, and critics rushed to distinguish the newly emerging literary theater from its illegitimate cousins. The efforts to defeat the democratizing influences of jazz and to canonize playwrights like Eugene O'Neill triumphed, giving birth to American theater as we know it today. David Savran is Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Vera Mowry Roberts Chair in American Theatre at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. "An important book that raises crucial questions about how and why a literary 'art theatre' came to be seen among tastemakers and canonizers as 'legitimate.' Savran makes the persuasive argument that jazz needed to be defeated in order for the art theatre to take center stage, using an impressive variety of tools to make his case." ---Andrea Most, University of Toronto "Like a canny fight promoter in the perennial American culture wars, David Savran puts the reader ringside for a blow-by-blow account of the Battle of the Brows---high, middle, and low. Setting Jazz Age entertainments at one another, with 'legitimate theater' duking it out with nightclub revues and movies pummeling vaudeville, Highbrow/Lowdown tracks the rise of heavyweight Eugene O'Neill to the top of the card, but it also makes heroes of the referees---the drama critics and audiences who crowned the winners. This is performance history as an innovative 'political economy of culture,' and it's a knockout." ---Joseph Roach, Yale University "A stunningly original analysis of music and theater in the 1920s as inseparable faces of jazz. Savran grounds his social history on a huge array of primary sources while drawing, without fanfare or jargon, on theorists such as Adorno and Bourdieu. His musical analyses of Gershwin, John Alden Carpenter, and George Antheil are not just first class but pathbreaking. No student of jazz as a Western cultural phenomenon---or of any American music or theater in the 1920s---will dare miss this powerfully illuminating, unabashedly reliable, beautifully written book." ---Rose Rosengard Subotnik, Brown University

Musicality in Theatre

Music as Model, Method and Metaphor in Theatre-Making

Musicality in Theatre

As the complicated relationship between music and theatre has evolved and changed in the modern and postmodern periods, music has continued to be immensely influential in key developments of theatrical practices. In this study of musicality in the theatre, David Roesner offers a revised view of the nature of the relationship. The new perspective results from two shifts in focus: on the one hand, Roesner concentrates in particular on theatre-making - that is the creation processes of theatre - and on the other, he traces a notion of ‘musicality’ in the historical and contemporary discourses as driver of theatrical innovation and aesthetic dispositif, focusing on musical qualities, metaphors and principles derived from a wide range of genres. Roesner looks in particular at the ways in which those who attempted to experiment with, advance or even revolutionize theatre often sought to use and integrate a sense of musicality in training and directing processes and in performances. His study reveals both the continuous changes in the understanding of music as model, method and metaphor for the theatre and how different notions of music had a vital impact on theatrical innovation in the past 150 years. Musicality thus becomes a complementary concept to theatricality, helping to highlight what is germane to an art form as well as to explain its traction in other art forms and areas of life. The theoretical scope of the book is developed from a wide range of case studies, some of which are re-readings of the classics of theatre history (Appia, Meyerhold, Artaud, Beckett), while others introduce or rediscover less-discussed practitioners such as Joe Chaikin, Thomas Bernhard, Elfriede Jelinek, Michael Thalheimer and Karin Beier.

Choreographing Copyright

Race, Gender, and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance

Choreographing Copyright

Choreographing Copyright is a new historical and cultural analysis of U.S. dance-makers' investment in intellectual property rights. Stretching from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first, the book reconstructs efforts to win copyright protection for choreography and teases out their raced and gendered politics, showing how dancers have embraced intellectual property rights as a means to both consolidate and contest racial and gendered power. A number of the artists featured in the book are well-known in the history of American dance, including Loie Fuller, Hanya Holm, and Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille, and George Balanchine. But the book also uncovers a host of marginalized figures--from the South Asian dancer Mohammed Ismail, to the African American pantomimist Johnny Hudgins, to the African American blues singer Alberta Hunter, to the white burlesque dancer Faith Dane--who were equally interested in positioning themselves as subjects rather than objects of property. Drawing on critical race and feminist theories and on cultural studies of copyright, Choreographing Copyright offers fresh insight into the raced and gendered hierarchies that govern the theatrical marketplace, white women's historically contingent relationship to property rights, legacies of ownership of black bodies and appropriation of non-white labor, and the tension between dance's ephemerality and its reproducibility.

God Bless America

The Surprising History of an Iconic Song

God Bless America

The song 'God Bless America' has come to inhabit our collective consciousness. This book tells the fascinating story behind the song, from its composition in 1918 by Irving Berlin, to its first performance by Kate Smith in 1938, to its post 9/11 popularity.

Neoliberalism and Global Theatres

Performance Permutations

Neoliberalism and Global Theatres

How do theatre and performance transmit and dispute ideologies of neoliberalism? The essays in this anthology examine the mechanisms and rhetorics of contemporary multinational and transnational organizations, artists, and communities that produce theatre and performance for global audiences.

The Comic Offense from Vaudeville to Contemporary Comedy

Larry David, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, and Dave Chappelle

The Comic Offense from Vaudeville to Contemporary Comedy

The Comic Offense from Vaudeville to Contemporary Comedy examines how contemporary writer/performers are influenced by the comedic vaudevillians of the early 20th century. By tracing the history and legacy of the vaudeville era and performance acts, like the Marx Brothers and The Three Keatons, and moving through the silent and early sound films of the early 1930s, the author looks at how comic writer/performers continue to sell a brand of themselves as a form of social commentary in order to confront and dispel stereotypes of race, class, and gender. The first study to explore contemporary popular comic culture and its influence on American society from this unique perspective, Rick DesRochers analyzes stand-up and improvisational comedy writing/performing in the work of Larry David, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, and Dave Chappelle. He grounds these choices by examining their evolution as they developed signature characters and sketches for their respective shows Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and Chappelle's Show.

Weill's Musical Theater

Stages of Reform

Weill's Musical Theater

"This book, the first scholarly consideration of Weill's complete output of stage works, is without doubt the most important critical study of the composer's oeuvre to date in any language. Hinton's scholarship is superior and his insights original and illuminating. The product of several decades of engagement with Weill's works, their sources and reception, as well as the secondary literature, the book is a stunning achievement. Brilliantly conceived and executed, it will take its place as one of the cornerstones of Weill studies."--Kim H. Kowalke, University of Rochester and President, Kurt Weill Foundation for Music "In "Weill's Musical Theater: Stages of Reform," Stephen Hinton reminds us that Kurt Weill was always a revolutionary. The composer's insistent dedication to a provocative, constantly evolving lyric theater that spoke directly to audiences meant that Weill remained as controversial as he was popular. The celebrity that endeared him to Broadway made him anathema in Berlin. Some sixty years after Weill's death, Hinton is finally able to demonstrate the consistent brilliance, theatrical power, and coherence of a composer who revolutionized every genre he touched (or used) and whose collaborators read as a who's who of twentieth-century theater." --David Savran, author of "Highbrow/Lowdown: Theater, Jazz, and the Making of the New Middle Class" "Stephen Hinton presents us with an image of Weill that is at once monumental yet still alive. A truly Protean figure, Weill is not an easy man to grasp in his totality; Brecht once wrote that a man thrown into water will have to develop webbed feet, and as a refugee from Nazi Germany, Weill had to become a cultural amphibian. But in "Weill's Musical Theater" we see the composer from every angle: through the gaze of countless critics and reviewers, through Weill's own eyes, and finally through the filter of Hinton's judicious, focused prose. This account will stand."--Daniel Albright, author of "Untwisting the Serpent: Modernism in Music, Literature, and Other Arts"

Internet Directory for Teachers

Internet Directory for Teachers

Lists sites covering famous authors, biographies, languages, math, science, social studies, sports, teaching methods, and educational resources, and suggests class Internet projects