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Dramas with Music: Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire and the Challenges of Music for the Postwar Stage

Dramas with Music: Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire and the Challenges of Music for... ANNETTE DAVISON The music created for theatrical productions is notoriously ephemeral. It is not uncommon to find that the only information about a production's music to survive is a credit for the composer and/or performers in the play's program or playbill and, occasionally, a few lines about the music in reviews of the play. We are more fortunate in the case of the debut production of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire in 1947. In 1992 Brenda Murphy provided a detailed discussion of the production's music drawn from archival sources, as part of her research into the nature of the collaborative relationship between Williams and Elia Kazan, the director of the debut production.1 More recently, additional documentation concerning the play's music has come to light, some of which had previously been sealed to scholars.2 These discoveries also include a recording of the play's cues performed by the musicians of the second touring company in 1949. Possible reasons for the survival of the material include the immense success of the original production and the unique character of the musical world created for it, discussed below. The fact that there were a series of disagreements between the producer and the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

Dramas with Music: Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire and the Challenges of Music for the Postwar Stage

American Music , Volume 29 (4) – Mar 23, 2011

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
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Copyright © University of Illinois Press
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1945-2349
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Abstract

ANNETTE DAVISON The music created for theatrical productions is notoriously ephemeral. It is not uncommon to find that the only information about a production's music to survive is a credit for the composer and/or performers in the play's program or playbill and, occasionally, a few lines about the music in reviews of the play. We are more fortunate in the case of the debut production of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire in 1947. In 1992 Brenda Murphy provided a detailed discussion of the production's music drawn from archival sources, as part of her research into the nature of the collaborative relationship between Williams and Elia Kazan, the director of the debut production.1 More recently, additional documentation concerning the play's music has come to light, some of which had previously been sealed to scholars.2 These discoveries also include a recording of the play's cues performed by the musicians of the second touring company in 1949. Possible reasons for the survival of the material include the immense success of the original production and the unique character of the musical world created for it, discussed below. The fact that there were a series of disagreements between the producer and the

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Mar 23, 2011

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