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Authors: Quinn, Arianne Johnson
Advisors: Agawu, V. Kofi
Wolf, Stacy
Contributors: Music Department
Keywords: American Musical Theatre
British Musical Theatre
Cole Porter
Noel Coward
Theatre History
Subjects: Music history
Theater history
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation is a cultural and musical study of Cole Porter’s London works from 1918 to 1954. It explores the cultural exchanges between British and American musical theater and draws on reception history, semiotic analysis, and constructions of identity. As part of this study, I uncover intermingled identities of class, gender, race, sexuality and ethnicity that are represented in his works and in British theater more broadly. Chapter 1 establishes the perimeters of British cultural identity in relation to theater audiences and stylistic expectations beginning in the 1920s. Forms and genres representing British musical theater before the Second World War include pantomime, ballet, musical comedy, the revue, operetta and Music Hall performances. Chapter 2 describes his early relationship with the London stage, including his interpolated songs and the opulent style of his early revue productions. Chapter 3 examines the materiality and distinctive musical form of his glamorous Cochran revue, Wake Up and Dream! (1928). Chapters 4 and 5 center on the production history and analysis of Nymph Errant(1933), a work that displays his distinctly British style. Chapter 6 explores the cultural disruption of World War II and its impact on British musical theater. In connection with this, Chapter 7 examines the dichotomy between sentimental British operettas and the American musical; it considers the impact of the American “Dollar Play” on British culture through the reception of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s work. Finally, Chapter 8 establishes the significance of Kiss Me, Kate, which was his last successful work in London (1951), and the obsession with both his work and American culture in post-World War II Britain. Porter’s skillful musical assimilation demonstrates both the extent of his abilities as an American songwriter and the lasting global impact of his work.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Music

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