Music in German Immigrant Theater

June 2009
90 black and white, 14 line illustrations
624 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580462150
Format: Hardback
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS020000, PER011020

Music in German Immigrant Theater

New York City, 1840-1940

John Koegel

A history -- the first ever -- of the abundant traditions of German-American musical theater in New York, and a treasure trove of songs and information.
Nineteenth-century New York was, after Berlin and Vienna, the third largest German-populated city in the world. German-language musical plays and light operas held an important niche in the lives of German immigrants and their families. John Koegel's Music in German Immigrant Theater: New York City, 1840-1940, tells, for the first time, the engrossing story of these theater works, and the many musical numbers from them that became popular as separate songs.
Koegel documents performances, in German, of plays by Shakespeare and Goethe and operas by Offenbach, Verdi, and Johann Strauss. And he draws long-needed attention to German-American musical comedies written, beginning in the 1890s, by ethnic parodist Adolf Philipp. As their titles suggest -- Der Corner Grocer aus der Avenue A and Der Pawnbroker von der Eastside -- these musicals related directly to the daily experiences of the immigrant population.
Music in German Immigrant Theater is enriched by copious photographs, sheet-music title pages, and musical examples, as well as numerous sets of song lyrics -- some uproarious, others touching -- in German and in English translation. The accompanying CD includes recordings of many of the songs discussed in the book.

John Koegel is Professor of Musicology at California State University, Fullerton. WINNER - 2009 ForeWord Reviews' Book of the Year Award, music category. This book is also included in the AAUP's 2010 University Press Books Selected for Public and Secondary School Libraries along with a number of other URP books.

The Society for American Music's Lowens Book Award recognizes a book that makes an outstanding contribution to American music studies. It represents the society's most prestigious honor. This year, John Koegel's Music in German Immigrant Theater was awarded that honor!

Table of Contents

German American Theater and Society
Early Struggles, Operatic Beginnings, and the Development of the German Theater in New York City, 1840-1872
Musical Farce and Folk Play at the Germania Theater, 1872-1883
Ethnic Spaces: Theatrical Entertainments in German Beer Gardens and Concert Halls
An Orgy of Operetta: The Thalia and Amberg Theaters, 1879-1893
Drama on a Higher Plane: The Irving Place Theater, 1893-1918
German American Performers
The "Dutch" Act: German American Theatrical and Literary Representations
Philipp's Germania Theater Musical Comedies, 1893-1902
The German American Musical Abroad: Philipp in Berlin, 1903-1907
From Klein Deutschland to Broadway: Philipp's Works, 1907-1914
Divided Loyalties: World War I and Its Aftermath
The Decline of the German American Stage in the 1920s and 1930s
Archives and Collections Consulted
Key to Abbreviations


[M]agnificent and substantial . . . reveals long-forgotten legacies of shows, theaters, impresarios, composers, conductors, and performers. . . . The prose is lively, and many well-produced illustrations [including portraits, production photos, images of theaters, and sheet-music covers] add to the book's charm. . . . A twenty-track CD made expressly for the book allows the reader to hear gems from the repertory described in the prose. . . . Will be of interest to musicologists, theater, cultural, and immigrant historians, . . . German-studies scholars [and] a broader readership. AMERICAN MUSIC [William K. Kearns]

A stunning model of empirical research. . . . Its wealth of detail will offer scholars an invaluable resource for many years to come. MUSIC LIBRARY ASSOCIATION NOTES [Nancy Newman]

Broadly conceived, superbly researched, and elegantly written. . . . Beautifully produced, with over ninety illustrations. . . . The fundamental explication of a particularly long-lasting and influential tradition in our theatrical history. JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY FOR AMERICAN MUSIC [Stephen Ledbetter]

Thanks to John Koegel's magnificent and substantial tome, long-overdue light is shed on . . . long-forgotten legacies of shows, theaters, impresarios, composers, conductors, and performers. . . . The prose is lively, and many well-produced illustrations . . . add to the book's charm. . . . [The CD] allows the reader to hear gems from the repertory described in the prose. . .AMERICAN MUSIC [William A. Everett]

Deep-delving. . . . Readable and entertaining. . . . A tour guide down a forgotten byway of the American immigrant experience, where life, at least sometimes, really was a cabaret. OPERA NEWS [John W. Freeman]

From the foreword: Koegel's palette is rich, his canvas, huge: the reader will see both the forest and its trees. Peter Conolly-Smith, Queens College, City University of New York

Koegel's book, with its numerous illustrations, takes its place in the pantheon of basic literature about the wondrous history of New York theatre. Miles Kreuger, president, The Institute of the American Musical

Packed with information. . . . The research that has gone into this volume is formidable. . . . Lively and elegant excerpts from these musical plays that are featured on a CD accompanying this volume [make one] wish that such works . . . still had a stage life. JOURNAL OF MUSICOLOGICAL RESEARCH [Simon Williams]

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