Books

The American Musical
By Ben West
Routledge, 2023

The American Musical is a comprehensive history of an American art form. With a unique perspective gleaned from extensive research at more than twenty different archives across the United States, this book delivers a detailed and definitive portrait of the form’s artistic evolution over the course of its seven distinct, newly defined eras.

Tracing the form’s journey from the early 1800s to the turn of the 21st century, this book sheds new light on the authors, creators, and artisans of the American musical, actively addressing the often overlooked female and African-American artists present throughout its history. Individual in both its approach and coverage, the book also provides an in-depth accounting of such outside influences as vaudeville, nightclubs, Tin Pan Alley, and soldier shows, while exploring the dynamic relationship between the form and the consciousness of its country.

The American Musical is a fascinating and insightful read for students, artists, and afficionados of the American musical, and anyone with an interest in this singular form of entertainment.