Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Stephen Sondheim and the Reinvention of the American Musical$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Robert L. McLaughlin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496808554

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2018

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496808554.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of
date: 16 December 2018

Instructions to the Audience

Instructions to the Audience

Chapter:
(p.3) One Instructions to the Audience
Source:
Stephen Sondheim and the Reinvention of the American Musical
Author(s):

Robert L. McLaughlin

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496808554.003.0001

This chapter establishes the overlapping contexts of the exhaustion of the Rodgers and Hammerstein-style musical and postmodernism and places Sondheim’s work within them. It begins by offering a definition of postmodernism, focusing on self-referentiality, intertextuality, and performativity. It then provides an aesthetic overview of the American musical with special attention to the musical-comedy era and the Rodgers and Hammerstein era. In the musical comedy, narrative is simultaneously central and irrelevant, a contradictory aesthetic communicated by proto-postmodern characteristics. In Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! the songs are justified by the narrative and the characters. The musical comedy’s proto-postmodern characteristics are repressed in favor of realism. This chapter then offers a brief biographical sketch of Sondheim, showing his mentoring by Oscar Hammerstein and examines two of his works from this period: Do I Hear a Waltz? and Evening Primrose.

Keywords:   Sondheim, Musical theater, Postmodernism, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Evening Primrose

University Press of Mississippi requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.