From Adelaide in Guys and Dolls to Nina in In the Heights and Elphaba in Wicked, female characters in Broadway musicals have belted and crooned their way into the American psyche.
Just in time for Womens History Month, author Stacy Wolf examines the world of these characters in a discussion of her book Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
Wolf looks not just at female characters but at women performers and creators. Moving from decade to decade, Wolf first highlights the assumptions that circulated about gender and sexuality at the time. She then examines each decade's leading musicals to stress the key aspects of the plays as they relate to women.
Often she discovers overlooked moments of empowerment for female audience members.
The musicals discussed here are among the most beloved in the canon, among them West Side Story, Cabaret, A Chorus Line, Phantom of the Opera, and especially Wicked. Wolf demonstrates how the musical since the mid-1940s has actually been dominated by women -- onstage, in the wings, and offstage as spectators and fans.
Of Changed for Good musical theater giant Stephen Schwartz has said: "I found Stacy Wolf's book fascinating and surprising. It not only gave me a fresh perspective on the history of musical theatre, it revealed things to me about my own show I didn't know were there." Features
Wolf is a professor of theater and director of the Princeton Atelier at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. She is the author of A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of the American Musical.
Presented by the UMKC Women's Center.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.