Coming Up Roses: The Broadway Musical in the 1950s," essayist-critic Ethan Mordden's comment-filled amble through the maturing of the American musical, gets its paperback release in January. The 262-page Oxford University Press release is one of three lively decade-structured volumes Mordden has written about musicals ("Make Believe: The Broadway Musical in the 1920s" and "Beautiful Mornin': The Broadway Musical in the 1940s").
The 1998 "Coming Up Roses" includes chapters on Redhead, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, My Fair Lady, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Gypsy and more.
"Once, musical comedy overtures were simply medleys of the choice tunes, one after another," Mordden writes in his opening chapter, called "The Street, 1950." "Now, they're a touch symphonic, thematic, a kind of bragging: For in the 1950s the Broadway musical was beginning the fourth decade of its golden age."
Mordden is a novelist ("I've a Feeling We're Not in Kansas Anymore," "Buddies") and has also penned "Broadway Babies" and the grandly illustrated "Rodgers & Hammerstein."
— By Kenneth Jones