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Coming up RosesThe Broadway Musical in the 1950s$
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Ethan Mordden

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140583.001.0001

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

(p.37) 3 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Coming up Roses

Ethan Mordden

Oxford University Press

George Abbott, former actor and playwright, virtually steered musical comedy through the 1940s and 1950s, when he was the director of everyone's first choice. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was based on Betty Smith's book about growing up poor yet hopeful in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. It is not a readily adaptable novel, episodic and almost epic as it follows three generations of an Irish family in Williamsburg. A very American saga, it has a taste of Carousel, perhaps. But the musical play's salient feature was its emphasis on character development within the social background of a particular time and place, something Abbott had no patience for.

Keywords:   musical comedy, Betty Smith, character development, George Abbott, Carousel

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