Castration on the stage: the integrated musicals of Rodgers and Hart

Symonds, Dominic (2008) Castration on the stage: the integrated musicals of Rodgers and Hart. In: Stage and Screen III / Music in Gotham: American Musical Theater, 2 - 5 April 2008, City University of New York.

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


The mythology of the integrated musical has dominated discourse in musical theatre since the triumphant success of Rodgers & Hammerstein with Oklahoma! in 1943. Since then the ideology of integration has been indelibly linked to the oeuvre of Rodgers and Hammerstein and anticipated in the subsequent canon of more recent collaborators. Typical narratives (Block, Mast, Lahr, Steyn, Swain, Everett & Laird) evoke a ‘before’ and ‘after’ mythology in which standards of value, maturity and artistry have been established, often denigrating the pre-war period of writing, during which rare works (Showboat; the Princess Shows) seem to stand out as exceptions to the otherwise prevailing superficiality of musical comedy. Yet Rodgers’ previous collaboration with Lorenz Hart, which spanned the inter-war period, reveals a committed attitude to developing the ‘integrity’ of musical theatre, and aside from the acknowledged classics in their repertoire, several more experimental works stand out: not least Peggy-Ann (1926) and Chee-Chee (1928). This paper will seek to revisit the existing narrative of musical theatre and explore the influence of Rodgers and Hart on the development of the integrated musical, focussing particularly on the little known ‘castration musical’, Chee-Chee.

Keywords:Rodgers and Hart, Chee Chee (1928), Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Musical theatre
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W310 Musicianship/Performance studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Fine Arts)
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ID Code:22455
Deposited On:09 Mar 2016 14:56

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