Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Happy Birthday, Carol Channing!

In recognition of the inimitable Carol Channing’s 93rd birthday, we have excerpted a portion of her interview from Eddie Shapiro’s forthcoming book of interviews with the leading ladies of Broadway, Nothing Like a Dame: Conversations with the Great Women of Musical Theater.

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Hal Gladfelder on The Beggar’s Opera and Polly

With The Beggar’s Opera, Gay invented a new form, the ballad opera, and the daring mixture of caustic political satire, well-loved popular tunes, and a story of crime and betrayal set in the urban underworld of prostitutes and thieves was an overnight sensation.

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Shakespeare in disguise

Celebrate Halloween with Shakespeare and Oxford Scholarly Editions Online (OSEO)! Test your knowledge on which characters disguise themselves, what the witches say around their cauldron, why ghosts haunt the living, and who plays tricks in the night …

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Romeo & Juliet: the film adaptations

By Jill L. Levensen
In its fall preview issue for 2013 (dated 2-9 September), New York magazine lists Romeo and Juliet with other films opening on 11 October 2013, and it comments: “Julian Fellowes (the beloved creator of Downton Abbey) tries to de-Luhrmann-ize this classic.” The statement makes two notable points.

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Images from Broadway’s past

In Anything Goes, Broadway historian Ethan Mordden takes us on a tour of the history of Broadway musicals over the past 100 years. From classical shows to Bernadette Peter’s recent turn in the 2011 production of Follies, take a tour of the evolution of the musical through the years and “all that jazz” that is has captivated audiences for ages.

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Breaking Bad’s Faustian Cast

By Jessica Barbour
In a Reddit AMA session a few months ago, Bryan Cranston was asked when he thought his character on Breaking Bad broke bad. His response: “My feeling is that Walt broke bad in the very first episode. It was very subtle but he did because that’s when he decided to become someone that he’s not in order to gain financially. He made the Faustian deal at that point and everything else was a slippery slope.”

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Adapting Henry V

By Gus Gallagher
In the Autumn of 2011 I found myself at something of a loose end in the beautiful city of Tbilisi, Georgia, working with the Marjanishvili Theatre there on a production of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Unsure of what my next project might be, my attention turned to an old love, Shakespeare’s Henry V.

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Shakespeare’s hand in the additional passages to Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy

By Douglas Bruster
Why should we think that Shakespeare wrote lines first published in the 1602 quarto of The Spanish Tragedy, a then-classic play by his deceased contemporary Thomas Kyd? Our answer starts 180 years ago, when Samuel Taylor Coleridge—author of ‘Kubla Khan’ and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner—said he heard Shakespeare in this material.

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A Who’s Who of the Edinburgh Festival

By Daniel Parker
It’s that time of year again; Edinburgh is ablaze with art, theatre and music from around the world. For the month of August, Edinburgh is the culture capital of the world, as thousands of musicians, street-performers, actors, comedians, authors, and artists demonstrate their art at various venues across the city. Listed in Who’s Who and Who Was Who are some of the most famous names to have performed at the festival since its inception in 1947.

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Breaking Bad: masculinity as tragedy

By Scott Trudell
In the opening shots of Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad, a pair of khaki pants is suspended, for a tranquil moment, in the desert air. The pants are then unceremoniously run over by an RV methamphetamine lab with two murdered bodies in back. When the camper crashes into a ditch, the driver Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) gets out.

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Summers with George Balanchine

By Elizabeth Kendall
A hundred years ago in the summer of 1913, nine-year-old George Balanchine, then Georgi Balanchivadze, spent the last moments of normal childhood — in the country, in the forest by a lake — before he was abruptly brought back to St. Petersburg.

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Nine curiosities about Ancient Greek drama

The International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama held annually in Cyprus during the month of July. Since its beginning in 1996, the festival has reimagined performances from the great Ancient Greek playwrights, so we dug into J.C. McKeown’s A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities for some of the lesser known facts about Ancient Greek theatre.

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