The 1960s: “If My Friends Could See Me Now”
In the 1960s, the book musical still dominated; the story’s structure took precedence and songs enhanced the emotional aspect of the story. Different kinds of stories also appeared and more musicals featured a woman as a central character rather than only as part of a heterosexual couple. This chapter focuses on 1960s musicals that featured women on stage alone in song and dance, but that weren’t sure whether to celebrate them or to punish them. It is organized around the social phenomenon of the 1960s Single Girl in Sweet Charity, Cabaret, Hello, Dolly!, Mame, Oliver!, and Man of La Mancha represent that figure (or a middle-aged version of her) on the Broadway musical stage. This chapter focuses on the convention of dance and movement and asks how those elements at once express anxiety about the single woman and greatly empower her.
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