The local and regional shows staged throughout America use musical theater’s inherent power of deception to cultivate worldviews opposed to mainstream ideas. Jake Johnson reveals how musical theater between the coasts inhabits the middle spaces between professional and amateur, urban and rural, fact and fiction, fantasy and reality, and truth and falsehood. The homegrown musical provides a space to engage belief and religion—imagining a better world while creating opportunities to expand what is possible in the current one. Whether it is the Oklahoma Senior Follies or a Mormon splinter group’s production of The Sound of Music, such productions give people a chance to jolt themselves out of today’s post-truth malaise and move toward a world more in line with their desires for justice, reconciliation, and community.
Vibrant and strikingly original, Lying in the Middle discovers some of the most potent musical theater taking place in the hoping, beating hearts of Americans.
A Brief History of this Book
1Stories Out of Place
2Re-Placing the American Musical
5Everything Old Is New Again
7The Afterlives of Truth and Musicals
"This book is very well written. . . . Highly recommended." --Choice
"With an unlikely cast of polygamists, conservative Christians, senior citizens, and aspiring stars who end up cookie cutter performers, Johnson’s polemic for and against the Broadway musical (and how all of us use it) cuts to the heart of our post-truth moment."--Todd Decker, author of Show Boat: Performing Race in an American Musical
"Refreshing and eye-opening . . . Lying in the Middle is an excellent exploration of what lies behind the musical and it is meant to be." --Kansas History