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All That JazzThe Life and Times of the Musical Chicago$
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Ethan Mordden

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190651794

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190651794.001.0001

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The Invention of the Satiric Musical

The Invention of the Satiric Musical

How Can You Tell an American?

(p.79) 5 The Invention of the Satiric Musical
All That Jazz

Ethan Mordden

Oxford University Press

This chapter recounts the history of the musical satire and how it has found its place in American theatre. It also considers how elements of this genre are to be found in the musical adaptation of Chicago. In doing so, the chapter shows that the English-speaking musical has been critical of the establishment and its protocols right from the start, not least in its protection of minorities. From its first century (starting roughly in the 1860s) songs from American musicals were the national melody and seemed perfectly innocuous at first glance. Yet, as the chapter shows, there was an underlying subversive character interwoven into the genre, and Watkins’ Chicago was no different.

Keywords:   musicals, musical satire, American musicals, political subversion, musical play, Hollywood remake, American theatre, Broadway, satire

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