Cover image for Ever after : the last years of musical theater and beyond
Ever after : the last years of musical theater and beyond
Singer, Barry, 1957-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Applause, [2004]

Physical Description:
328 pages, 8 unnumbered leaves of plates : illustrations, photographs ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML1711.6 .S56 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



(Applause Books). Ever After is more than a detailed show-by-show history of the last quarter century in American musical theater. It explains how the storied Broadway tradition in many cases went so very wrong. Singer takes the reader behind the scenes for an unparalleled look at A Chorus Line 's final bow, the creation of Rent , the real people behind Disney's uber-musicals, and even an afternoon with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Ever After also celebrates the promise of the next generation of young musical theater artists, especially Adam Guettel, Michael John LaChiusa, Ricky Ian Gordon and Jason Robert Brown, addressing not only their work to date, but their future projects. There is no other book currently available that covers this period and subject. Through his work for The New York Times , Singer has interviewed virtually everyone of significance. They are all here, very much speaking for themselves. Ever After is both anecdotal and analytical, featuring personality profiles of important creative figures, from Jule Styne to Stephen Sondheim to Jonathan Larson, while critically evaluating all of the many musicals produced during the past 25 years. Sure to generate debate, this is a book written not only for the musical theater aficionado, but for anyone who has seen a Broadway musical or has just enjoyed the movie version of Chicago and is curious to know more.

Author Notes

Barry Singer writes about music and theater for the New York Times. He has contributed to Esquire, Opera News, the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, New York, and other publications. He is also the proprietor of the independent Chartwell Booksellers in New York City

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Despite the subtitle, Singer's book is not an epitaph for New York City's "Fabulous Invalid" but a highly opinionated survey of musicals off and on Broadway through the last quarter century, starting with a detailed look at the closing of A Chorus Line in 1990. The author, a frequent New York Times contributor, calls Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita "an empty-headed lump of pomposity" and deems Carrie an example of "indelible, monumental ineptitude," but he can be generous to young talents. In contrast to the often sweeping judgments of his musical reviews, he thoughtfully analyzes in individual essays such newcomers as Michael John LaChiusa and Jonathon Larson, as well as such veterans as Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne. The thorough discussions of Disney's The Lion King and Aida are particularly useful. Singer dismisses The Lion King with disdain, but surprisingly finds little to criticize in Aida, other than to express shock at the discovery that Big Business is involved in artistic creation. At the end, he pays homage to the 75-year-old Mel Brooks, of The Producers fame, quipping that "the Broadway musical had somehow been spared from the dour inroads made by young composers." Whether or not they agree with the author, all lovers of musical theater should welcome this provocative book. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

Singer is nothing if not passionate about musical theater. He's written columns about the state of the art in the New York Times every August since 1997, and these columns form the basis of the present book. He has zero to very few good words to say about Andrew Lloyd Webber and Mel Brooks and a lot of good words to say about Stephen Sondheim. He also loves composers some decades younger than Sondheim, like Adam Guettel and Mark Hollmann. He treats the Disneyfication of Broadway with a raised eyebrow and with hope that a mote of originality can emerge from the glut of adapted animated adventures. Most of all, Singer asks his readers to truly, madly, deeply care about musical theater and composers to overcome the stupidity that lies within much of today's popular culture. We know that musicals can never be like they used to be (an evolving economy has taken care of that), but that doesn't mean that they can't be better than they are; it will just take a good deal of work and courage. Recommended for performing arts libraries. Larry Schwartz, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Moorhead (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Author of several books and numerous articles on musical topics, Singer surveys the last quarter century of the American musical (and imported imitations) to explain the current state of the genre. He bases his case on relevant data--rising production and ticket costs, changing tastes in popular music, a drastic change in the genesis of shows--and on interviews of creators and performers in the field. He offers extended quotes from these interviews and avoids most of the cliches and mannerisms of many books on this subject. He supplements the discussion--27 chapters (many of them brief), an introduction, and an "Overture," "Finale," and "Curtain Call"--with photographs, summaries of 26 seasons (1977-2003), "Numbers" (box-office sales and attendance), and endnotes. His conclusions are not encouraging. He discusses in negative terms the continuing string of revivals and "non-revival revivals," i.e., shows that consist of songs gathered from several shows by the same composer (for example, Crazy for You) or, in other cases, by several composers. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All collections; all levels. R. Stahura emeritus, Ripon College

Table of Contents

Introduction: Is It Dead Yet?p. 1
Overture: And Now Life Really Beginsp. 5
Chapter 1 We're Bitching (1977-1982)p. 11
Chapter 2 All It Has to Be Is Good (1983-1984)p. 25
Chapter 3 Oh, There's a Cast of Thousands (1984-1987)p. 35
Chapter 4 Music of the Night (1987-1988)p. 45
Chapter 5 You're Nothing Without Me (1988-1990)p. 53
Chapter 6 Why We Tell the Story (1990-1991)p. 59
Chapter 7 Somethin' More (1991-1992)p. 67
Chapter 8 Maybe It Better Soon No (1992-1993)p. 73
Chapter 9 The Red Shoes (1993)p. 79
Chapter 10 Turn the Blood to Black and White (1993-1994)p. 85
Chapter 11 A Kind of Happiness (1993-1995)p. 93
Chapter 12 Glory (1994-1996)p. 99
Chapter 13 How Glory Goes (1995-1996)p. 113
Chapter 14 This Is the Moment (1996-1997)p. 125
Chapter 15 Pure and Blameless (1997)p. 133
Chapter 16 Hakuna Matata (1997-1998)p. 139
Chapter 17 Saturn Returns (1997-1998)p. 151
Chapter 18 Elaborate Lives (1998)p. 159
Chapter 19 You Don't Know This Man (1998-1999)p. 175
Chapter 20 Dream True (1999)p. 183
Chapter 21 Wild Party (1999-2000)p. 191
Chapter 22 What Sings (2000)p. 203
Chapter 23 A Showbiz Mausoleum (2000-2001)p. 209
Chapter 24 This Is Urinetown (2001-2002)p. 227
Chapter 25 Music and the Mirror (2001)p. 239
Chapter 26 Climbing Uphill (2001-2002)p. 243
Chapter 27 Don't Cry for Me, Argentina (2001)p. 251
Finale: But Who Calls That Livin'? (2002-2003)p. 257
Curtain Callp. 269
Acknowledgementsp. 283
Notesp. 285
The Seasonsp. 299
The Musicalsp. 313
The Numbersp. 317
Indexp. 319