Spread a Little Happiness: West End Musicals
In celebrating, as we just about can in 1992, the first century of the British stage musical in its modern form, we would do well to remember the complaint of one of its greatest and most prolifically successful exponents, Noel Coward, who in a moment of uncharacteristic despair commented ‘the only trouble with the British is that they have never taken light music seriously enough’ (Coward, ‘Preface’). To a lyricist and composer of his generation (he was born into a world of Gilbert and Sullivan just ten days before the last Christmas of the last century, hence the name Noel) it was a source of regular amazement and regret that his fellow-countrymen seemed through his lifetime to be getting less interested and/or confident in the whole notion of the West End musical as an indigenous art form, so that by the end of his long career Coward himself, that most quintessentially English of writers and men, was actually premiering his musicals on Broadway.
KeywordsMusical Theatre American Musical Musical Comedy Paul McCartney Successful Exponent
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