A theater history told with candor—critics Andrew Sarris and Clive Barnes are “idiots”—wit, and expertise. A distinguished...



An authoritative history of the “entire Chicago saga—a play, a silent film, a talkie, and only then the musical”—and beyond.

Does anyone know more about the Broadway musical than the prolific Mordden (When Broadway Went to Hollywood, 2016, etc.)? Now, instead of exploring another aspect of the genre’s history, the author focuses on the many iterations of one musical, the “fleet and ruthless” Chicago, a story of two women awaiting trial in a Chicago jail for murdering men. Like other satirical musicals, Chicago is “silly, loony, irreverent, and sexy, in the Offenbach tradition.” Mordden sees the “too easily underestimated show” as dealing with two of America’s “great myths,” the city itself and the 1920s. After opening chapters provide useful summaries of the city’s history, the author turns to Maurine Watkins, a Tribune reporter, and her 1926 play Chicago, which drew upon a pair of murder trials she reported on. Working in the “crook play-cum-courtroom drama” tradition, she “reinvents genre” in her play about the nature of power in America. Next came the silent movie version in 1927, directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Mating wicked doings with farce, his movie was the “tale of a troubled marriage. Of a decent and loving guy married to a user.” The second movie version, Roxie Hart (1942), directed by William A. Wellman and starring Ginger Rogers, was closer to the play than DeMille’s version. Mordden takes two chapters to discuss the brilliant 1975 Bob Fosse choreographed version of Chicago, starring Gwen Verdon, with its “razzamatazz” music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb. This multiple Tony winner, writes the author, was the “consummation of the musical satire.” Choreographer/director Rob Marshall won the Academy Award as Best Director for his 2002 Chicago, which captured Best Picture, one of few musicals ever to do so.

A theater history told with candor—critics Andrew Sarris and Clive Barnes are “idiots”—wit, and expertise. A distinguished investigation into the art form intellectuals scorn as “cotton candy.”

Pub Date: April 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-19-065179-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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