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Wicked: A Musical Biography


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About the Author

Paul R. Laird is professor of Musicology at the University of Kansas, where he teaches courses in music history, musical theater, and directs the Instrumental Collegium Musicum. He is the author of The Baroque Cello Revival: An Oral History (Scarecrow, 2004) and coauthor of Historical Dictionary of the Broadway Musical (Scarecrow, 2007).


This book is a bonanza for those students interested in the step-by-step development of theatrical ventures. They will be gratified and instructed by the creative processes highlighted here. This work is an education. The success of such research ventures rely on the availability of written literary and musical scores source materials, most important of which is the memories of the creative personnel. The author has done well by his sources. Less scientific-oriented musical theater lovers will also enjoy and profit from this work. * American Reference Books Annual *
The impetus for Paul Laird's book came from his fortuitous meeting with composer Stephen Schwartz at an academic conference in 2004 and was further fueled by witnessing the fervent responses of young women and girls in Wicked's audiences. Schwartz provided generous access to his office, manuscripts, and papers, and Laird was able to speak at length with the composer and most of his collaborators on multiple occasions. It is fair to say that few scholars of any musical styles, especially commercial genres, have had such unfettered access to the sources of a living composer at the height of his career. This is . . . a strength of the book. * Journal of the Society for American Music *

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