The Books of…Adrian Wright

Writer, novelist, playwright, biographer, actor and singer, Adrian Wright is a busy man! Thankfully he has managed to find the time to publish five titles with Boydell, each of which has found an enthusiastic readership and met with warm critical praise. British musicals are clearly close to Adrian’s heart but despite his love of the genre he maintains a coolly critical eye throughout and in combination with his witty asides makes his books hugely entertaining reading, even for those who had not previously realised just how fascinating the world of the musical could be.

Cheer Up!: British Musical Films, 1929-1945

This is the first book to deal exclusively with the British musical film from the very beginning of talking pictures through the Depression and up to the end of the Second World War. The introduction and development of new technology and the influx of emigres escaping Nazi Germany made for an exciting period of great creativity.

Must Close Saturday: The Decline and Fall of the British Musical Flop

The ominous announcement “Must Close Saturday” heralded the premature – or shall we say ‘unscheduled’ – closure of many British musicals. Before big budget, glamorous American productions began to transfer to London the British musical had achieved much, scoring popular and critical successes and pushed the boundaries of form and content. But many pushed a bit too far and met their ends much earlier than they had planned. In hindsight, and with Adrian Wright’s razor-sharp and often wickedly funny analysis, we must wonder how they got as far as they did given their subject matter: the electric chair, Dr Crippen, Scapa Flow, Trade Unionism, the Virgin Mary.
Hugely entertaining. THE SPECTATOR

West End Broadway: The Golden Age of the American Musical in London

West End Broadway discusses every American musical seen in London from the war years until 1972, just as the final works of Cole Porter and Irving Berlin made way for a new wave of writers and composers. Included here are some of the greatest ever musicals: Oklahoma; Annie get your gun; Kiss me, Kate; West Side Story; and Hello Dolly. And as these American shows stole the spotlight from many British productions, they also introduced American social history and culture into post-war Britain.
An important book [that] offers significant cultural perspectives on the American musical. MUSIC AND LETTERS

A Tanner’s Worth of Tune
Rediscovering the Post-War British Musical

The first of Adrian’s three books on musical theatre in Britain helped establish him as one of the subject’s leading experts and it remains something of a classic. Adrian’s expertise and obvious love for the British musical does not blind him to its many quirks and these pages buzz with his perceptive, witty insights and penetrating judgements.
[A]n absolute delight of a read. It is the first book to be published on this subject […] The quality of the writing is superb as are the photographs and illustrations throughout, but as a reference book for that genre, it has no rival. MUSICAL STAGESM
An instant must-have for any lover – or indeed student – of musical theatre. THE STAGE

The Innumerable Dance: The Life and Work of William Alwyn

William Alwyn enjoyed a hugely successful career as a composer of film scores, beginning with the Documentary Film Movement in the 1930 before moving into features films, including Carve Her Name with Pride, The Million Pound Note, The Running Man, Malta Story and more. Later he turned to writing opera, poetry and fiction. Within these pages is an amazing story about a remarkable man. NOTES

You can learn more about Adrian Wright’s many other publications on his website at

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