Penn State

Susan Russell - Associate Professor of Theatre, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Changed For Good

Author: Stacy Wolf

Book Description:

In Changed For Good, Stacy Wolf creates a landscape of theoretical possibilities where musical theatre can move beyond entertainment and into relevant conversations about cultural identity. Concentrating on feminist readings of a craft and its practices, practitioners, and historical trajectory, Wolf uses musical theatre to examine changes in sexual politics and changes in the position of women in our twentieth and twenty-first century cultures. Endowing a musical with the properties of a historical document, Wolf offers the possibility that this country's favorite form of live theatre is more than beautiful people singing beautifully about beautiful things, the craft is another way to unpack the dense cultural conversations taking place in the audience during the show. Wolf leaves plenty of room in the text for the reader's personal commentary about, as Bruce Kirle asks, "Who is in charge" of entertainment and indeed history telling, and if what Wolf suggests is true, then musical theatre is as strong a bell weather of gender politics as any critical or historical text on the topic. Strong words for a brave text, and as a former professional musical theatre actor, this text affirms a 25-year career as something more than time spent "entertaining."

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