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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: confrontation between art and technology

McNeely, Jerry
[Book reviews: a view from the pit],   pp. [244]-248 PDF (4.7 MB)

Page 248

emerge again. He may be correct, but I
doubt that they will bear much
resemblance to Mr. Engel's eleven great
ones. Twenty years from now, Hair
may be of no interest as a show, but its
importance as an innovation
should be substantial. After one has
heard the crack of a Fender bass in a
theater, he is apt to be just a
little less responsive to a Robert Russell
Bennett sound.
Promises are being made. As this
is written in the fall of 1968
Burt Bacharach is preparing his first
theatrical score. Anyone who has been
delighted by the surprise of the
opening 10-bar phrase in "Alfie" or the
refreshing exploration of jazz-waltz rhythms
in "What the World Needs Now"
should have high hopes. Bernstein is
back with his best lyricist, Sondheim, and
preparing a show based on a play by
Brecht. Bock and Harnick are
dealing with war and the military in a
piece about Lord Nelson.
None of these may work out,
but their announcements mean there are
248     those in the theater who believe
musicals can still surpass the level of Mike
Stewart and Jerry Herman. If they
are right, they are almost certain to have
Mr. Engel leading the cheers -
even if the shows are far afield from
the ones he praises so strongly
in his book. For the musical theater
is his passion, and he obviously loves it in
a mature enough way that its further
development can only delight him.
It's nice, for a change, reading about
someone who loves something.

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