David Ewen


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(1907–85), author. Brought to the United States from his native Austria at the age of three, he studied briefly at the City College of New York and at Columbia. In 1943 he wrote The Story of George Gershwin, a biography of the composer designed for young readers. He later published similar biographies of Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, and Richard Rodgers, as well as a general history of American musical theatre. For adults he wrote biographies of Gershwin, Kern, and Rodgers and a survey of composers in the American theatre. His best-known work is The Complete Book of the American Musical Theatre (1950), which was drastically revised and updated in 1970. Although some later scholars have criticized his work as frequently careless, his books remain readable and useful, and his importance as a pioneer in books on modern American musicals and their composers cannot be gainsaid.

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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