Year of Publication

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

English

First Advisor

Walter Foreman

Second Advisor

Geraldine Maschio

Abstract

For many, contemporary theatre is represented by the musical. The form remains, however, virtually unstudied by literary scholars. In part, this may be a result of the difficulty of accessing the texts. Reading a musical from a traditional codex is no easy matter. The integration of text and music in a musical make it inappropriate to separate the two. One can try to follow along with a cast recording. In most cases, though, this is awkward. Many cast albums record a significantly modified version of the score and lyrics and few include the entire work. Further, musical theatre texts often exist in many different versions. This work begins with a summary of the problems one encounters when editing a multi-authored text (musicals often have a lyricist, librettist, and composer) which may be revised for practical (rather than aesthetic) reasons. The merits of restoring the material changed during the production process are debated. In this discussion some attempt is made to identify who should be considered the dominating collaborator (or auteur) of a musical. Ultimately, this dissertation argues that the notion of trying to restore an "authorial Ur-Text" makes little sense given the multitude of collaborators involved in the process of making musicals. Instead, an electronic variorum edition is presented as an alternative means of studying and teaching musical theatre texts. The study concludes with a narrative of the authors own work on an electronic edition of the 1998 Broadway musical Parade and ends with a critical introduction to this text.

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