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208Comparative Drama sustaining any such project. And, similarly, while Marvin Carlson argues for closer attention to the role of the theater audience and of the multifaceted theater apparatus in shaping reception—from historical playbills and advertisements to the mediating roles of dramaturg and reviewer, he relies primarily on Stanley Fish's model of a "community of readers, . . . which shares common values and determines collectively the norms and conventions according to which individual readings take place" (p. 84). This is a model which has been subject to widespread critique by the theory community for ascribing to an unproductive hegemonic pluralism that silences the possibility of the kind of political incommensurabilities stressed by Hatch, Davis, and McConachie. Although Carlson takes a step in their critical direction by endorsing Tony Bennett's position that reception is shaped by pre-existing literary apparati, he fails to acknowledge Bennett's critique of consumption itself as the hegemonic site on which capitalism has organized and disciplined historical, phallologocentric subjectivity. But what makes Interpreting the Theatrical Past an especially helpful volume is the way in which its more astute cross-disciplinary essays work to complicate the claims of those articles which remain encumbered by the residues of the drive to define theater history as an independent branch of knowledge. This volume not only teaches us more about what we might learn from the theatrical past but also, and much more crucially , how we might receive it. Interpreting the Theatrical Past thus sensitizes its target audience of "theatre scholars and students" to the continual need to evaluate the tactics of both the discipline and the reception of all theater performances and historical accounts. In this vein, I conclude with a regrettable note regarding the volume's "Select Bibliography" of Historiography, compiled by Thomas Postlewait. In aiming to avoid duplication, Postlewait seeks to limit the bibliography to titles uncited in the separate essays in the collection. As a result, this bibliography, which necessarily performs a significant canonical function, fails to include any ready references to many of the titles argued by the contributors as being crucial to the historiography of performance. This omission is especially glaring in light of Hatch's critique of standard bibliographies for excluding writings on black theater. Here, even in such a politically self-conscious volume, vital reference works like BlackDrama : The Story of the American Negro in the Theatre by Loften Mitchell and The Place of the Negro in the Evolution of the American Theatre, 1776-1940 by Fannin Belcher are relegated once again to the margins of bibliographical reference. TIMOTHY MURRAY Cornell University Craig Zadan. Sondheim and Co., 2nd ed. New York: Harper and Row, 1989. Pp. viii + 438. $17.95. British universities have been notoriously behindhand in matters theatrical: no one thought to lecture on Shakespeare until 1751—and then (Holofernes, thou shouldst have been living!) in Latin no less. More stunningly late, however, was the inauguration of Oxford Univer- Reviews209 sity's first drama professorship in 1989, though the choice for the first visiting holder of the chair proved admirably up-to-date: Stephen Sondheim. The choice was sensible and just, too. Though it may err somewhat in the direction of hype to assert (as the co-producer of Sunday in the Park with George does) that Sondheim "is one of the great poets in the history of the English language" (p. 315), it is arguable that he towers as a theatrical creator above his contemporaries, rather as Shakespeare towered over the likes of Jonson, Heywood, Marston, and Webster. The musical (distant kin of the court masque that eventually subverted Renaissance bare-stage dramaturgy) is now the dominant commercial theatrical genre, and, as the choreographer Michael Bennett plausibly asserts, "Steve . . . understands more about the musical theater than anyone" (p. 123). We have been living for several decades in what Variety called, in 1985, "the Era of Sondheim." Indeed, Shakespeare is called to mind often in the pages of Craig Zadan's "authorized, behind-the-scenes story" of the creation of Sondheim 's canon. One thinks, for instance, of Shakespeare's apparent annoyance at extemporaneous clowning when Sondheim complains about Zero Mostel's outrageous ad-libbing in A Funny Thing Happened on...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 208-211
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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