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The Ballad of John LatoucheAn American Lyricist's Life and Work$
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Howard Pollack

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190458294

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190458294.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 31 October 2020

Cabin in the Sky

Cabin in the Sky

(p.115) 8 Cabin in the Sky
The Ballad of John Latouche

Howard Pollack

Oxford University Press

Cabin in the Sky was one of Latouche’s first major triumphs, an all-black 1940 musical for which he wrote the lyrics: music by Vernon Duke; book by Lynn Root; choreography by George Balanchine and Katherine Dunham; and sets by Boris Aronson; Ethel Waters and Dooley Wilson starred. The show proved a critical success, applauded for the sophistication of its score and the novelty of its choreography and set design; this included kudos in the black press, even as some progressive white critics took the work to task for perpetuating stereotypes. The show subsequently became a movie directed by Vincente Minnelli, with new music by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg, and starring also Lena Horne. This chapter discusses differences between the stage and film versions, and further explores revivals of the stage show over the years, and the work’s continued controversial critical reception.

Keywords:   Cabin in the Sky, Vernon Duke, George Balanchine, Katherine Dunham, Boris Aronson, Ethel Waters, Dooley Wilson, Vincente Minnelli

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