Outward Show

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Denison University presents "An Outward Show" by Randy Neighbarger.

From 1660 through approximately 1830, the alteration of Shakespearean texts to comply with contemporary dramaturgy was a normal occurrence, and the need to adapt Shakespeare to popular tastes generated music quite different in style, function, and influence from that envisioned by the Elizabethan playwright. Shakespeare's plots and poetry were updated, and the role of music elevated. The musical repertoire created for this transfigured Shakespeareana represents the staggering variety of music on the English stage and shows the effect of Continental musical influences, especially Italian opera and ballad opera.

Proceeding chronologically, this book discusses music used in Shakespeare productions on the London stage during the 170-year period following the Restoration. Included are settings of Shakespeare's song lyrics, other original texts, and added non-Shakespearean texts, as well as incidental music, masques, operas and afterpieces based on the plays. Source materials documenting the arguments include manuscript scores, the extant music printed in play texts, and contemporary commentary from advertisements, criticism, playbills, and memoirs and correspondence. An appendix summarizes information about important productions and source materials in a series of charts cross-referenced to the extensive bibliography. Numerous musical examples illustrate the text, and scores of Shakespearean music by Arne, Boyce, Leveridge, Vernon, Weldon, and others are reprinted. Theater historians as well as music historians working in this period will find this book a valuable resource, as will theater practitioners interested in period productions.