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Galella, Donatella. "‘Superman/Sidekick’ white storytellers and black lives in the fortress of solitude (2014)." Reframing the Musical. Race, Culture, and Identity. Ed. Sarah Whitfield. London: Red Globe, 2019. 3–16. 
Added by: joachim (2/2/22, 7:25 PM)   Last edited by: joachim (2/2/22, 7:26 PM)
Resource type: Book Chapter
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: Galella2019
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Categories: General
Keywords: "Superman", Adaptation, Ethnicity, Lethem. Jonathan, Literature, Music, Superhero, USA
Creators: Galella, Whitfield
Publisher: Red Globe (London)
Collection: Reframing the Musical. Race, Culture, and Identity
Views: 20/762
Attachments   URLs   https://www.academ ... tress_of_Solitude_
This chapter analyzes the power dynamics of storytelling when white artists and characters dramatize black lives and music in Michael Friedman and Itamar Moses’s The Fortress of Solitude. Based on Jonathan Lethem’s novel of the same title, the musical premiered at the Public Theater in the fall of 2014 and was soon overshadowed by Hamilton. The Fortress of Solitude takes place in 1970s Brooklyn where Dylan becomes friends with Mingus, whose father Barrett was a renowned soul singer. Together, they can fly. But due to his white privilege, Dylan enjoys success, becomes a music critic, and tries to save and profit off of Barrett’s music. Meanwhile, Mingus, who is black, ends up in the prison industrial complex. By making Dylan the narrator, Friedman and Moses illuminate how white protagonists shape narratives, appropriate blackness, and disavow their complicity in racial hierarchy. While the book centers on Dylan, the score centers on black voices and the possibilities for racial harmony. Even so, Friedman and Moses, white artists themselves, have crafted these black-sounding songs, and the storyline thus draws meta-theatrical, critical attention to the very material conditions of creating this musical. Although The Fortress of Solitude importantly highlights the unequal socio-political context for white versus black Americans and imagines interracial intimacy through superheroes and songs, the musical ultimately brings the focus back to whiteness, which is too often the case when artists and academics theorize race and racism.
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