The Musical Theatre of Charles Dibdin
The notion of an “integrated musical,” traditionally believed to be a twentieth-century development, actually emerged in the second half of the eighteenth century through the work of Charles Dibdin (1745–1814). Dibdin wrote the music, book, and lyrics, as well as the dance music, vocal arrangements, and orchestrations for a series of popular, and innovative British musicals, in which he often performed. The conception of an integrated musical theatre is the subject of this book, and the study of how Dibdin blended musical devices from Italian opera, eighteenth-century galant theories, and English ballads with a keen perception of the dramatic to create an organic musical theatre that paved the way for the integrated musical in the twentieth century. A study of Dibdin’s musical theatre will enhance our understanding and appreciation not only of the eighteenth-century musical, but also of the musical theatre today.
John Franceschina is a musical theatre conductor, composer, and educator who has toured internationally. As a musical director and coach, he worked with, Jane Alexander, Gwen Verdon, Leslie Uggams, Angela Lansbury, Jan Peerce, Robert Merrill, Theodore Bikel, Elke Sommer, and Nell Carter. He has composed and arranged incidental scores for the Arena Stage, the Mark Taper Forum, the National Shakespeare Company, the Moscow Art Theatre, as well as the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra and his original musicals have toured throughout the United States and Europe. A retired distinguished Professor of Musical Theatre at the Pennsylvania State University, he is the author of Duke Ellington’s Music for the Theatre; Hermes Pan: The Man Who Danced with Fred Astaire; Music Theory through Musical Theatre; David Braham: the American Offenbach; Harry B. Smith: Dean of American Librettists; and editor of the full-score edition of Charles Dibdin’s musical comedy, Hassan; or, The Spoilt Favourite.
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