So Lauren Bacall me: musical theatre and the fluidity of iconicity

Rush, Adam (2015) So Lauren Bacall me: musical theatre and the fluidity of iconicity. In: Song, Stage and Screen X, 24th-26th June 2015, Regent's University London.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


For Marvin Carlson, the ghostly reappearance of historical and legendary figures has become an essential element of theatregoing. While seemingly worlds apart, Eva Peron, Buddy Holly, Stephen Ward and Imelda Marcos are not only cultural icons of the twentieth century, whether idolised or despised, but characters within the musical theatre canon who will tread the boards long after the death of the original stars. Although many cultural forms depict the lives of real people, there is something in the ephemeral nature of theatre which keeps the representation of such figures in constant flux. As new productions open, new scores are written and new actors perform these roles, the recognisable traits of each iconic figure are distorted and, as such, musical theatre is active in shaping our impressions of history. As Rebecca Schneider has argued, “theatre is one site where the fake can produce the real and the real colludes in the construction of the fake”. Whilst their bodies may rest, their legacy lives on in the dialogue, music and lyrics of other performers. As such, this paper argues that the liveness of musical theatre enables fluid performances, or perhaps re-performances, of iconicity. Musical theatre engenders a spirit of nostalgia and transforms, often radically, our perceptions of cultural icons.

Keywords:Musical Theatre, Iconicity, Icon, Intertextuality, Eva Peron, Evita
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
W Creative Arts and Design > W300 Music
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
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ID Code:19983
Deposited On:11 Jan 2016 21:55

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