Ethan Mordden

in Coming up Roses

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780195140583
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848867 | DOI:

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While operetta was through by the 1950s, there was one more from Edwin Lester—Kismet. Robert Wright and George Forrest wrote the score, as they had done for Song of Norway. But where the earlier show creaked between the singing and dancing, Kismet crackled. For perhaps the first time since Sweet Adeline in 1929, an operetta sported the book of a musical comedy. In place of the stilted, faux-antique dialogue that dogged traditional operetta, Kismet's librettists, Charles Lederer and Luther Davis, wrote in modern colloquial or spoofed Omar Khayyam lingo; and almost all the characters, from leads to bits, contributed to the comedy, whereas operetta's worst quality was its habit of centering all the alleged humor on one or two roles. Most important, where the typical operetta narrative tends to lurch from one setback (to the love plot, usually) to the next, Kismet moves smoothly through an ever-revolving series of rash encounters among five principals, each with his own agenda.

Keywords: Kismet; Sweet Adeline; Song of Norway; operetta

Chapter.  3801 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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