Theater Journal for Mar. 12, 2002

The Top Musical Theater Writers

by John Kenrick

When I was just a fledgling theater buff, devouring every book and article I could find on the subject, there were several writers who's passion and eloquence fanned the flames of my interest. By the time I had finished reading David Ewen's 800 page Complete Book of the American Musical Theater cover to cover, I was not just hooked -- I had enough trivia to drive anyone mad.

Between the hundreds of books in my home and the thousands more I access through various libraries, its fair to say I still read an average of three or more books per week. And the lion's share of those books relate to ' surprise, surprise ' musical theater and film.

When you spend as much time reading about musical theater as I do, you develop an abiding affection and respect for the people who spend countless hours documenting the development of this art form. The list below is a tip of the hat to those who bring musical theater history alive. All twelve on my list are men ' through necessity. So few women have written on this subject! (And attention film buffs - I will post a similar tribute to musical film historians in the near future.)

I tried to keep it to a dozen -- had to settle for a bit over a baker's. In alphabetical order, here is my short list of "the best of the best"'

It is a genuine pleasure to note that all but five of these writers are still alive and well. A rousing cheer to them all, for what they have written and all they will write in the future.

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