Carefully Taught looks at American history as depicted in forty Broadway musicals. Presented chronologically according to the musical timeframe, award-winning theater critic and author Cary Ginell dissects the stories, characters, and songs to not only examine how Broadway viewed historical events, epochs, and personalities, but also to capture how dramatic license separated fact from fantasy. The chosen musicals fall into a variety of categories: biographies of famous Americans, (Andrew Jackson and Fiorello LaGuardia), stories with national conflicts (Hamilton, South Pacific), events that captured the attention of the American public (Floyd Collins, Newsies), and sociological studies or satires of specific eras (The Music Man, Hair).
Many books have been written about Broadway, but Carefully Taught, from the song "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught" in South Pacific, uniquely approaches American history from two vantage points: the point of view of the playwright and composer accompanied with the context of how these events were seen when they were produced versus how they are seen today. Ginell’s research of contemporary theater reviews and in-depth studies of productions’ back stories play off his knowledge gained from his quarter century as a theater critic in Southern California.The combination is a complete overview of American history on the stage from the coveted balcony seat.
Cary Ginell is a Grammy-nominated author of 12 books on American music. A winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, Cary recently completed a term as President of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. Since 2007, he has served as theatre critic for the Acorn Newspapers in Ventura County, California while editing Applause Books’ venerable Broadway Musicals: Show By Show. Ginell and his wife Gail live in Thousand Oaks, California.