Call for Papers: Studies in Musical Theatre
*Special issue: 'The Glamour, the Gags, and the Girls: The Musical Revue in Europe and America Before World War II'

Special Issue of Studies In Musical Theatre, guest edited by Jonas Westover

Proposal Submission deadline: 01 February 2012

According to many scholars, the theatrical revue began in America with 1894’s The Passing Show, and this entertainment blossomed into one of the most popular genres by the 1910s. Borrowing from the variety and vaudeville stage, the revue used a thin plot (though this would eventually disappear) to include many types of acts in a single show. Ziegfeld and the Shuberts dominated the stage until the end of the decade, each producing an annual series that featured an eclectic mix of singers, dancers, chorus girls, comedians, and more. The 1920s saw a rapid expansion of such shows, but a slow decline began with the onset of the Great Depression and continued until the second World War, when it became a largely nostalgic event.

But the revue was so much more than an American genre, and it did not necessarily begin in the 1890s. Its transatlantic appeal saw the type of show flourish in France and England, and some revues even played in more than one country. Examples include the productions of the Folies Bergere (France), Hullo, Tango (1913, England), and Parade (1935, America). From Radio City Music Hall to the Ice Follies to the King of Jazz, the revue was everywhere. What about the extravaganza and the spectacular and other nineteenth-century antecedents? What about filmed revues? What about the meaning and function of revues in a broader social and cultural context? Why did the genre slowly dissipate and change over time? The history of the revue and its place in entertainment history still holds many questions that remain unanswered.

This issue of the journal seeks to explore the revue in detail, focusing on the period of its Broadway heyday (c.1894-c.1939), but also embracing European revue, the transatlantic traffic of revue, and various offshoots of the revue on stage or screen. We encourage the submission of abstracts of 300 words or (preferred) articles of 4000-6000 words for issue 7.1, to be published in January 2013. In particular, we welcome:

  • Critical, biographical explorations of forgotten stars, composers, dancers, or comedians;
  • Historiographical or sociocultural studies of shows and their contexts;
  • Production histories focusing on performance practice, costume, lighting or set design;
  • Musicological or textual considerations of scores, scripts, or songs;
  • Archival explorations relating to recordings, movies, or advertising

Due to the early date of publication, the deadline for submission of abstracts or articles is 1 February 2012, with a view to full drafts being completed by 1 May 2012. Material should be submitted directly to Jonas Westover at


Posted by Bethan Ball at 10:18 (0) comments
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