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Short Synopsis
In The Secret Life of the American Musical, Jack Viertel shows us how musicals happen, what makes them work, how they captivate audiences, and how one landmark show leads to the next, from Oklahoma! to Hamilton and onward.

Full Synopsis
For almost a century, Americans have been losing their hearts and losing their minds in an insatiable love affair with the American musical. It often begins in actors, and reaches its passionate zenith when it comes time for love, marriage, and children, who will start the cycle all over again. Americans love musicals. Americans invented musicals. Americans perfected musicals. But what, exactly, is a musical?

In The Secret Life of the American Musical, Jack Viertel takes them apart, puts them back together, sings their praises, marvels at their unflagging inventiveness, and occasionally despairs over their more embarrassing shortcomings. In the process, he invites us to fall in love all over again by showing us how musicals happen, what makes them work, how they captivate audiences, and how one landmark show leads to the next—by design or by accident, by emulation or by rebellion—from Oklahoma! to Hamilton and onward.

"Viertel speaks with affection, from a base of knowledge and experience, and Pittu keeps listeners engrossed." ---AudioFile

"Viertel here offers a scholarly analysis of the American musical and explores the structural elements that contribute to its success." ----Library Journal

"An enlightening trip for lovers of musicals." ---Kirkus

"[T]heater fans will appreciate the dips into memoir and Viertel's takes on original cast albums." ---Publishers Weekly

The Secret Life of the American Musical

How Broadway Shows Are Built

Author Jack Viertel

Narrated by David Pittu

Publication date Mar 1, 2016

Running time 11 hrs 24 min

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