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Coming up RosesThe Broadway Musical in the 1950s$
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Ethan Mordden

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140583.001.0001

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Chapter:
(p.37) 3 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Source:
Coming up Roses
Author(s):

Ethan Mordden

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140583.003.0003

George Abbott, former actor and playwright, virtually steered musical comedy through the 1940s and 1950s, when he was the director of everyone's first choice. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was based on Betty Smith's book about growing up poor yet hopeful in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. It is not a readily adaptable novel, episodic and almost epic as it follows three generations of an Irish family in Williamsburg. A very American saga, it has a taste of Carousel, perhaps. But the musical play's salient feature was its emphasis on character development within the social background of a particular time and place, something Abbott had no patience for.

Keywords:   musical comedy, Betty Smith, character development, George Abbott, Carousel

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