Changed for Good: A Review

If you’d like to know more about Stacy Wolf and Changed for Good, join us Tuesday, March 5 at the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library. Wolf will be lecturing on the topics addressed in Changed for Good. Her lecture begins at 6:30 following a reception at 6:00 PM. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

By Andrea Fowler

6281589012_db5a0c5f31-Broadway TourBroadway and film musicals have entertained American audiences for generations. And we have certainly noticed how those musicals enter our social consciousness and when our favorite characters reflect changing attitudes. But how often do we step back far enough to really look at the progression and evolution of these characters? Author Stacy Wolf does just that in her books A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical (2002), and Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical (2011).

I have had the pleasure of reading Changed for Good for a class this semester. As a singer and voice teacher, there have always been songs or characters that I gravitated towards because of the strength or emotion they presented. But it wasn’t until reading Wolf’s book that I really took the time to consider why I was drawn to these particular women. Or why I rejected other characters who did not exhibit those same qualities. Wolf’s interpretations provided new insights that I was unaware of in my previous studies of these shows.

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Wolf sets up her examination of women’s roles on a decade by decade basis, with each chapter focusing on a specific female character type that is prevalent in that decade. Her ideas are well supported by thoughtful interpretations and primary source material from musical industry insiders of the time.

For more information on this event, visit the Women’s Center online, on Facebook, or Twitter.