Authored by: Jill Terry Rudy

The Routledge Companion to Media and Fairy-Tale Cultures

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138946156
eBook ISBN: 9781315670997
Adobe ISBN:


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Fairy-tale musicals heighten the fairy tale’s association with change. Such change is not only thematic or ideological but an opportunity for special effects that envision wonder. In addition to special effects, often the score and songs operate with a metamusical savvy that involves thought and emotion. Putting together fairy tale, song, and a musical theater show creates wondrous cognitive and affective dimensions that may deepen or contradict what narrative alone accomplishes. Thus, combining fairy tale and song signals an aural metamorphosis from talk to music that resonates with audiences and sparks curiosity and surprise through the juxtapositions of music, showmanship, and storytelling. Fairy-tale musicals by Walt Disney, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, and Jacques Demy establish and break conventions that regularize and highlight the transition from talk to song. Newer films and television shows continue the sociocultural work accomplished by the wondrous juxtaposition of everyday life with musical numbers to interrogate fairy-tale lessons on love, social standing, coming of age, and collective sovereignty.

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