National identity and the British musical : from Blood Brothers to Cinderella /

Publication Type:



Methuen Drama,, London [England], p.1 online resource (256 pages) (2022)

Call Number:


Other Number:




(OCoLC)fst01030814, (OCoLC)fst01033379, Britanniques., Comédies musicales, fast, Grande-Bretagne, Great Britain, Histoire et critique., History and criticism., Musicals, Musicals., National characteristics, British.


Includes bibliographical references.Introduction 1. "Say it's just a show": The musical as a British cultural artifact -- Chapter one explores the implications of the historical inferior position of musical theatre within a text driven British theatrical heritage -- 2. "For he is an Englishman": National identity and the British musical This chapter will question why the British musical continues to define 'Britishness' by a set of national identity signifiers which no longer have any currency and are not authentic representations of the contemporary nation -- 3. "We're proud to be working class": Depictions of the class divide This chapter examines how the British musical has either reflected or interrogated the class structures inherent in British society in the last four decades -- 4. "A cat so clever": Andrew Lloyd Webber as the voice of the British musical This chapter analyses what meanings the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber -- certainly the most successful British musical theatre creator yet -- holds in relation to ideals of British identity -- 5. "Fair Shares for All": The white, male voice of the British musical This chapter explores what messages contemporary British musicals are producing with regards to gender and equality -- 6. "We said we'd never look back": The British musical's love affair with nostalgia This chapter will consider why British creators are so keen to utilise an idealised past to support a mythologised present. It will ask why creators are so reluctant to present the nation as it is, regardless of the fact that the majority of the audience now has no memory of this quixotic bygone era -- 7. "Once we were kings": Conclusion The conclusion will recap the positions and issues presented in previous chapters and examine what needs to be done to ensure a future for the British musical -- Selected bibliography."The British musical has lost what unique voice it once had. National Identity and the British Musical: From Blood Brothers to Six explores what made that voice, what sustained it, and ask the vital question: what do we have to do to find a new one? Historically, the British musical has been dismissed as escapist fodder and too commercial to hold relevance within cultural debates. As a result, creators of new work rarely utilise the form to interrogate societal or political questions or to explore what it means to be 'British'. National Identity and the British Musical: From Blood Brothers to Six examines the myths associated with national identity which are reproduced by the British musical and asks why the genre continues to uphold, instead of challenging, outdated ideals. All too often, UK musicals reinforce national identity clichés and caricatures, conflate 'England' with 'Britain' and depict a mono-cultural nation viewed through a nostalgic lens. Through case studies and analysis of British musicals such as Blood Brothers, Six, Half a Sixpence and Billy Elliot , this book examines the place of the British musical within a text-based theatrical heritage and asks what, or whose, Britain is being represented by home grown musicals. The sheer number of people engaging with shows bestows enormous power upon the genre and yet critics display a reluctance to analyse the cultural meanings produced by new work, or to hold work to account for production teams and narratives which continue to shun diversity and inclusive practices. A thorough examination of the British musical is long overdue, indeed crucial, if the genre is to catch up with developments visible on Broadway. In the 1990s, it was British practitioners who rewrote the stylistic rules of musical theatre and dominated Broadway: thirty years on, the British musical is in danger of becoming so outdated as to be obsolete. The question this book poses is: what kind of industry do we want to see in Britain in the next ten years? And what kind of show do we want representing the nation in the future?"--Compliant with Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Content is displayed as HTML full text which can easily be resized or read with assistive technology, with mark-up that allows screen readers and keyboard-only users to navigate easily.Description based upon online resource; title from PDF title page (viewed August 23rd, 2022).