The American Musical and the Performance of Personal Identity
by Raymond Knapp

The American Musical and the Performance of Personal Identity

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This website is hosted by the UCLA Library, and was developed through the support of the UCLA Music Library, the UCLA Center for Digital Humanities, and the UCLA Council on Research. Please report any problems regarding the website to me at knapp@ucla.edu.

I wish to thank the UCLA Department of Musicology, Joseph Vaughn, Jon Hofferman, Stephen Davison, Cecilia Sun, and especially Holley Replogle for their able assistance in constructing the site.

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The American Musical and the Performance of Personal Identity

CONTRASTING PERFORMANCES OF PERSONAL IDENTITY

The collage presents a quartet of musical-based identities, each in its way celebrating the freedoms and opportunities promised by the Statue of Liberty (background):

1. immigrant Frank-N-Furter, late of Transsexual, Transylvania (Tim Curry, The Rocky Horror Show, left; photograph courtesy of Miles Kreuger and the Institute of the American Musical, Inc.);
2. Dorothy Gale, as a young Kansas girl before she became the heroic liberator of the Land of Oz (Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz, bottom; movie still courtesy of Miles Kreuger and the Institute of the American Musical, Inc.);
3. fellow-liberator Sir Percy Blakeney, inspiring prospective recruits for the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel with "Into the Fire" (Douglas Sills, The Scarlet Pimpernel, top; photograph (c) Joan Marcus, used with permission); and
4. dance hall hostess Charity Hope Valentine, who is still pursuing an elusive happiness (Gwen Verdon, Sweet Charity, right; Photograph from the Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations, used with permission).

(Collage design by Jonathan Hofferman.)