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Theatrical LiberalismJews and Popular Entertainment in America$
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Andrea Most

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814708194

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814708194.001.0001

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Theatrical Liberalism under Attack

Theatrical Liberalism under Attack

Chapter:
(p.88) 3 Theatrical Liberalism under Attack
Source:
Theatrical Liberalism
Author(s):

Andrea Most

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814708194.003.0003

In the wake of the Great Depression, World War II, the Holocaust, and the post-war Red Scare, many artists began to raise questions about the morality and efficacy of theatrical liberalism. This chapter examines the expression of this ambivalence in works that critique and reconfigure the backstage musical and romantic comedy—and the acting style that supported them—as inherently false and naïve. Rodgers and Hart's modernist musical Pal Joey, Arthur Miller's “tragedy for the common man” Death of a Salesman, and Bernstein, Laurents, and Sondheim's adaptation of a Shakespearean tragedy, West Side Story, all express deep disillusion with the values of theatrical liberalism.

Keywords:   American Jews, theatrical liberalism, musicals, romantic comedy, Pal Joey, Death of a Salesman, West Side Story

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