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About the Book

The Oxford Handbook of The American Musical offers new and cutting-edge essays on the most important and compelling issues and topics in the growing, interdisciplinary field of musical-theater and film-musical studies. Taking the form of a "keywords" book, it introduces readers to the concepts and terms that define the history of the musical as a genre and that offer ways to reflect on the specific creative choices that shape musicals and their performance on stage and screen. The handbook offers a cross-section of essays written by leading experts in the field, organized within broad conceptual groups, which together capture the breadth, direction, and tone of musicals studies today.

Each essay traces the genealogy of the term or issue it addresses, including related issues and controversies, positions and problematizes those issues within larger bodies of scholarship, and provides specific examples drawn from shows and films. Essays both re-examine traditional topics and introduce underexplored areas. Reflecting the concerns of scholars and students alike, the authors emphasize critical and accessible perspectives, and supplement theory with concrete examples that may be accessed through links to this website.

Taking into account issues of composition, performance, and reception, the book's contributors bring a wide range of practical and theoretical perspectives to bear on their considerations of one of America's most lively, enduring artistic traditions. The Oxford Handbook of The American Musical will engage all readers interested in the form, from students to scholars to fans and aficionados, as it analyses the complex relationships among the creators, performers, and audiences who sustain the genre.

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