2008: 100. Enchanted Evenings

“The central subjects in this book are fourteen “book” musicals that premiered on Broadway between the late 1920s and the late 1950’s, beginning with Show Boat (1927) and ending with West Side Story (1957)."

Enchanted Evenings: The Broadway Musical from Show Boat to Sondheim, Geoffrey Block

At first I wasn’t going to count this as part of my “read five books about classical music” resolution, because the book is about the Broadway stage.  However, this book is, if anything, more appropriate for that resolution than the Opera book, because it actually talks about music, and music theory.  The book is meant to be a text book for music students to learn about American musical theater, and each chapter (which roughly correlates to one musical, though a few chapters discuss two shows at once)*, is about 50% developed to the history of the show/plot/lyrics, while the other half is dedicated to examining the way music is used to tell the story - to an including examining musical phrases throughout the piece.  To tell the truth, the music theory part was a tiny bit over my head, but over all, the book was extremely interesting.  It took musical theater seriously, and gave it serious scholarly review, but wasn’t so academic as to be dry.  My complaint is that I much preferred the chapters that discussed the musicals that I was more familiar with (Carousel, Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, West Side Story) than the others - but that is more my ignorance than Block’s fault.  I still enjoyed the other chapters - in fact, what I really wished is that he’d write more about other musicals, so I could read that too.  


* Those are: Show Boat, Anything Goes, Porgy and Bess, On Your Toes, Pal Joey, The Cradle Will Rock, Lady in the Dark, One Touch of Venus, Carousel, Kiss Me, Kate, Guys and Dolls, The Most Happy Fella, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, and a section on Sondheim as the inheritor to this tradition.


Date/Place Completed: 7/22/08

Categories: Non-Fiction, Library, Book Resolution

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017