A comprehensive and authoritative history of American musical theatre covering more than two and a half centuries. A lively engaging narrative combines plot synopses names of principal players descriptions of scenery costumes and songs and critical reactions. Newly updated to cover the first decade of the twenty-first century including groundbreaking new theatrical forms. The book looks at  blockbusters and showstoppers including A Chorus Line Showboat Cats Grease The Lion King The Color Purple and Spring Awakening.
Hailed as "absolutely the best reference book on its subject" by Newsweek American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle covers more than 250 years of musical theatre in the United States from a 1735 South Carolina production of Flora or Hob in the Well to The Addams Family inWWWW 2010. Authors Gerald Bordman and Richard Norton write an engaging narrative blending history critical analysis and lively description to illustrate the transformation of American musical theatre through such incarnations as the ballad opera revue Golden Age musical rock musical Disney musical and withWWWW 2010's American Idiot even the punk musical. The Chronicle is arranged chronologically and is fully indexed according to names of shows songs and people involved for easy searching and browsing
Chapters range from the "Prologue" which traces the origins of American musical theater to 1866 through several "intermissions" (for instance "Broadway's Response to the Swing Era 1937-1942") and up to "Act Seven" the theatre of the twenty-first century. This last chapter covers the dramatic changes in musical theatre since the last edition published-whereas Fosse a choreography-heavy revue won theWWWW 1999 Tony for Best Musical theWWWW 2008 award went to In the Heights which combines hip-hop rap meringue and salsa unlike any musical before it. Other groundbreaking and/or box-office-breaking shows covered for the first time include Avenue Q The Producers Billy Elliot Jersey Boys Monty Python's Spamalot Wicked Hairspray Urinetown the Musical and Spring Awakening. Discussion of these shows incorporates plot synopses names of principal players descriptions of scenery and costumes and critical reactions. In addition short biographies interspersed throughout the text colorfully depict the creative minds that shaped the most influential musicals. Collectively these elements create the most comprehensive authoritative history of musical theatre in this country and make this an essential resource for students scholars performers dramaturges and musical enthusiasts.