Must Close Saturday

Must Close Saturday

The Decline and Fall of the British Musical Flop

Adrian Wright

eBook for Handhelds

Boydell Press



The first book to deal exclusively with British musical flops, Must Close Saturday presents a rolling panorama of the good, the bad and the ugly, reassessing their place in theatrical history.
The ominous announcement "Must Close Saturday" too often heralded the demise of British musicals. Looking forward from the vantage point of Lionel Bart's spectacularly successful Oliver! in 1960, Adrian Wright's authoritative chronicle of the commercially unsuccessful British musical of the last half a century uncovers a wealth of fascinating material. In the wake of the resurgence that briefly blew through the British musical at the end of the 1950s with verismo works such as Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be and Expresso Bongo, the British musical was shaken by Bart's adaptation of Dickens, but was quickly left floundering in the face of constant critical complaint and financial failure. The first book to deal exclusively with British musical flops, Must Close Saturday presents a rolling panorama of the good, the bad and the ugly, reassessing their place in theatrical history. Wright reveals a consistent striving at invention, with subjects including the electric chair, the Holocaust, the Virgin Mary, social inequality and Trade Unionism, sexual problems and murder, as well as biographical treatments of Hollywood stars, French painters, tragic novelists, royalty, and the Rector of Stiffkey. Discursive and provoking, Must Close Saturday at last prises open the neglected history of the British musical flop up to 2016.

ADRIAN WRIGHT is the author of Foreign Country: The Life of L. P. Hartley (1996), John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure (1998), The Innumerable Dance: The Life and Work of William Alwyn (Boydell & Brewer, 2008), the novel Maroon (2010) and The Voice of Doom (2016). His previous books on British musical theatre are A Tanner's Worth of Tune: Rediscovering the Post-War British Musical (Boydell & Brewer, 2010) and West End Broadway: The Golden Age of the American Musical in London (Boydell & Brewer, 2012). He lives in Norfolk.

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40 black and white illustrations
371 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Hardback, 9781783272358, October 2017
eBook for Handhelds, 9781787440890, October 2017
eBook, 9781787440838, October 2017
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

Appendix: British Musical Flops in London 1960-2016
Select Bibliography


Hugely entertaining...Flops provide rich subject matter - lovingly explored in Must Close Saturday - and it is easy with the benefit of hindsight to scoff at the bizarre notions that have been set to music: the electric chair; Dr Crippen; Scapa Flow...the match girls at the Bryant & May factory Francis Drake...Christmas crackers... highwaymen; and Barnado's orphanages. THE SPECTATOR

In Adrian Wright's entertaining new book, Must Close Saturday: The Decline and Fall of the British Musical Flop, he charts the British musical from 1960 to 2016; year by year he analyses that season's failed musicals. The book demonstrates how frequently it's the smallest of margins that can determine a musical's success or failure. Richard Jordan, THE STAGE

If you are a musical theatre nerd Must Close Saturday is a must for your collection. BRITISHTHEATRE.COM

We have high hopes in recommending Adrian Wright's Must Close Saturday, The Decline and Fall of the British Musical Flop... Some of the examples are wonderful... This book is not only written for the general reader, then, but also for the more assiduous researcher. Either way, it should certainly be on all library shelves. I adored it. Julian Oddy, THEATRE RECORD

A fascinating and highly detailed book...this is a 'must buy' for all musical devotees! HOME CHAT, THE NEWSLETTER OF THE NOËL COWARD SOCIETY

I have been unable to put it down...many thanks to Adrian Wright for an invaluable tome which should be in the library of everyone who claims to enjoy musical theatre. John Groves, OPERETTA RESEARCH CENTER

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