Geoffrey Block

A Fine Romance: Adapting Broadway to Hollywood in the Studio System Era

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How do we compare a Broadway musical to its Hollywood counterpart? A Fine Romance: Adapting Broadway to Hollywood in the Studio System Era answers this question by exploring the symbiotic relationship between a dozen Broadway musicals and their Hollywood film adaptations. From enduring classics like Oklahoma!, Brigadoon, and West Side Story to lesser-known gems such as Cabin in the SkyCall Me Madam, and Silk Stockings, author Geoffrey Block examines some of the best loved stage and screen musicals of all time as well as neglected works that deserve our attention and respect.

Block delves into what happens during the transfer of stories from stage to film, the critical criteria that motivates decisions to alter or preserve stage elements when adapting to film, and the dramatic and musical consequences at play in these artistic and commercial choices. In telling this story, A Fine Romance engages with aesthetic and critical concerns while also considering the social issues around Broadway and Hollywood film through the lenses of race and ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual identity.

Beginning with the stage debut of Show Boat in 1927 and concluding with the release of Bob Fosse's cinematic re-envisioning of Cabaret nearly a half century later in 1972, the romance between Broadway and Hollywood was frequently turbulent. Differing commercial and aesthetic models and goals of Broadway and Hollywood created both conflicting and harmonious collaborations. Attempts at economic and artistic domination, irreconcilable differences, and occasional broken promises ensued. At other times, the screen and stage creative teams aligned, resulting in well-crafted, much admired, and frequently breathtaking films.

Author: Geoffrey Block

Hardback Published 1 June 2023 360 pages

"A Fine Romance, Geoffrey Block's excellent new book from Oxford University Press." - Peter Filichia, Broadway Select

"In this lively and illuminating book, Geoffrey Block reveals the often productive but sometimes fraught relationship between the Broadway musical and the Hollywood studio system that brought it to the big screen. The volume is packed with new information and revealing analysis that will make the reader want to return to it time and again. A showstopper among the scholarship on the American musical!" - Dominic Broomfield-McHugh, Professor of Musicology at the University of Sheffield and author of Loverly: The Life and Times of "My Fair Lady"


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