Sunday, October 14, 2012

Musicals!: A Complete Selection Guide for Local Productions

Richard Chigley Lynch's Musicals!: A Complete Selection Guide for Local Productions is one of the more useful and practical reference sources we use.  As the subtitle indicates, the purpose of the book is to assist anyone thinking of staging a musical.  It consists of an alphabetical listing of almost 500 musical theater works along with practical information about each of them.  While the information about the creators of each work is easy to come by in other sources, where this reference stands apart in supplying publication information about the work.

Musicals! gives bibliographic information about any published libretto (or script), condensations of the libretto, piano-vocal score, and when there is no piano-vocal score, whether there are vocal selections.

This is extraordinarily helpful information because in many cases, libretti and scores have not been commercially published.  Patrons are sometimes confused to learn that there is no published score or script for the music they seek.  But there is a logical reason for this--the rights holder of the work has made a decision that it is in their interest to make the scores and scripts available only on a rental basis.  Thus, Musicals! also includes another crucial bit of information - the Licensing Agent who owns the rights to each show.  They are also the ones who rent out performing material like scripts, performing scores and parts for the musicians in the pit.

Musicals! also gives information about commercially-released cast recordings (when they exist).  Finally, it also provides information about the numbers of actors and actresses needed to perform the work and a listing of songs from each show.

This resource also includes four indexes.  The first two provide contact information for the Licensing Agents and Publishers cited in the book.  There is also an index of composers, lyricists and librettists.  The final index is also very important - a song index to all of the numbers in each show included in the reference.

A copy of the 1984 edition of Musicals! is available to view online through for library users who register with Open Library.

Musicals!: A Complete Selection Guide For Local Productions by Richard Chigley Lynch, 2nd edition (American Library Association, 1994).

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