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The Faber Pocket Guide to Musicals

James Inverne

The Faber Guide to Musicals, by James Inverne, is an engaging and easy-to-use pocket guide for one of the most enduringly popular arts.

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With hit TV shows picking the leads in productions of Oliver! and The Sound Of Music, and smash musicals like Hairspray and Wicked all the West End rage, musical theatre is as popular as it’s ever been. James Inverne provides an indispensable guide to his top one hundred greatest shows of all time – and ten of the worst. Whether you know your Pal Joey from The Producers, your West Side Story from your Witch Witch, the Faber Pocket Guide To Musicals is packed with entertaining behind-the-scenes stories, essential songlists and comprehensive recording guides. Did you know, for instance, that one of the best recordings of Les Miserables is in Hebrew? Or that the Mel Brooks wasn’t the first person to want to make a musical of The Producers? (That claim goes to Eric Idle.) Or the ridiculous story of the huge purpose-built theatre constructed in Holland to house a flop about Grace Kelly?

Key features include:
– The hundred greatest musicals
– Numbers to listen for
– Snapshot plot summaries
– Ten terrible musicals
– Recommended recordings

James Inverne has been writing about musical theatre for years and brings copious knowledge, passion for the subject and a sense of fun to a genre that continues to entertain us all. Make the most of the musicals with this vital book.

Critic Reviews

The latest in this excellent series has everything you need to know about musicals ... There are also plenty of wonderful anecdotes, not least the story of the theatre purpose-built to stage a musical about Grace Kelly (it flopped).

Simon Evans, Choice
Critic Reviews

James Inverne proves once and for all that size isn't everything. In his small book he has packed an enormous amount of fascinating detail, not only about great musicals but excrutiating ones as well.I was so hooked I read it all in one sitting.

Don Black
Critic Reviews

The latest book in the reliable Faber Pocket Guides series admirably covers its subject. ... While this book will normally be used by those about to see or having just seen a musical as a means of bringing themselves up to speed with core information, it is also well enough written that it can be read through from cover to cover without any sense of tedium or repetition. That is a fine achievement.
For the most part, this pocket guide inevitably acts as a reminder of much loved, or possibly hated, classics although by the end, anyone apart from a diehard enthusiast who knows every musical selected, will probably have got a few ideas about shows or film versions that they would love to see or recordings to buy.

British Theatre Guide
Critic Reviews

One of the delightfully surprising elements of this well-informed and whirlwind tour of the 100 best and ten worst musicals is that you are likely to have heard of so many. You might not, however, know exactly when and where they premiered, what hits you should listen out for or even, if you were to be shamefully honest, what they are about. All that can be joyously rectified. ... a sweetly satisfying and easily digestible guide for musical lovers and musical haters - they'll soon be converted.

What's on Stage
Critic Reviews

This smart and witty survey of (Inverne's) eclectic "Top 100" finds room for Porgy and Bess alongside The Rocky Horror Show, Candide with Hairspray, The Lion King and Gilbert & Sullivan, both Cabaret and its parent The Threepenny Opera, Billy Elliot: the musical but also Jerry Springer: the opera.

Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

James Inverne is one of the UK’s leading arts journalists. He currently edits Gramophone, the world’s best-selling classical music magazine, and before that spent more than five years with Time Magazine as European Performing Arts Correspondent. He has regularly written reviews and major features for many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Telegraph, The Times and the Mail…

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