John is a well-established and popular public speaker, informative and enthuasiastic for general interest groups, authoritative and forensic in university lecturing. He is an Accredited Lecturer of The Arts Society, and has given talks for, among others, ENO, the Garsington and Glyndebourne festivals, BBC radio and the Royal Opera House (for whom he worked for 20 years).
John's writing has ranged from programme articles for interested non-specialists (for the ROH, ENO, Salzburg Festivals and others) right through to academic research, such as his groundbreaking PhD, chapters and articles in authoritative books, and peer-reviewed journal articles . His book on Andrew Lloyd Webber (Yale UP) is a core reference work on the repertory.
John has been fascinated by music and the stage all his life. He is a leading expert in British musical theatre (the subject of his PhD). He is especially known for exploring musicals in the light of society and culture to reveal what makes them so appealing, enduring and important. John has written widely on opera, and worked for the Royal Opera House for two decades.
The British musical in its formative years has appeared in strikingly different guises: from the lasting hits of Oliver!, and Me and My Girl, to the successes of The Dancing Years, Bless the Bride and Expresso Bongo.
This authoritative study traces what made these shows successes in the West End and how their qualities define a uniquely British interpretation of the genre. Cultural, sociological and political influences entwine with close reading of the dramatic and musical elements of this repertory to reveal a fascinating web of connections and contrasts between the times, the shows and the people who made them.
Through detailed case studies, such as of The Boy Friend and Bitter Sweet, the rich individuality of each West End work is spotlighted, posing vital questions and intriguing answers as to what a British musical can be. Interdisciplinary in nature, this study brings together all the core materials to discover this period in the story of the British musical. Reviewing the Situation is insightful and lively, an invaluable resource for students and scholars of musical theatre and all those theatregoers drawn to the power of these classic British shows.