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The Secret Life of the American Musical by Jack Viertel
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The Secret Life of the American Musical

How Broadway Shows Are Built

$18.89

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Narrator David Pittu
Length 11 hours 23 minutes
Language English
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For almost a century, Americans have been losing their hearts and losing their minds in an insatiable love affair with the American musical. It often begins in actors, and reaches its passionate zenith when it comes time for love, marriage, and children, who will start the cycle all over again. Americans love musicals. Americans invented musicals. Americans perfected musicals. But what, exactly, is a musical?

In The Secret Life of the American Musical, Jack Viertel takes them apart, puts them back together, sings their praises, marvels at their unflagging inventiveness, and occasionally despairs over their more embarrassing shortcomings. In the process, he invites us to fall in love all over again by showing us how musicals happen, what makes them work, how they captivate audiences, and how one landmark show leads to the next—by design or by accident, by emulation or by rebellion—from Oklahoma! to Hamilton and onward.

Jack Viertel is the senior vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns and operates five Broadway theaters. He has been involved in dozens of productions presented by Jujamcyn since 1987, including multiple Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winners, from City of Angels to Angels in America. He has also helped shepherd six of August Wilson's plays to Broadway. He is the artistic director of New York City Center's acclaimed Encores! series, which presents three musical productions every season. In that capacity he has overseen fifty shows, for some of which he adapted the scripts. He conceived the long-running Smokey Joe's Cafe and the critically acclaimed After Midnight and has been a creative consultant on many shows, including Hairspray, A Christmas Story, and Dear Evan Hansen. He was the Mark Taper Forum's dramaturg and the drama critic and arts editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and he has spent a decade teaching musical theater at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

David Pittu is an award-winning actor, writer, and director whose career spans theater, film, and television. A two-time Tony Award nominee, he is also a veteran audiobook performer whose credits include Donna Tartt's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Goldfinch, for which he received the 2014 Audie Award for Best Male Solo Performance. He lives in New York City.

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Reviews

"An enlightening trip for lovers of musicals." ---Kirkus Expand reviews
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