Books & Essays

Red Stars: Entertainment business
during Hungarian Stalinism

After researching for seven years, I published a monography about the transformation of a traditional theare industry into a Stalinist theatre structure. The study focuses on mass culture genres and on the struggle to adapt them to the new communist theatre stucture after 1945 in Budapest. To write this encyclopedia I used sources from:

  • 18 public archives from Budapest, Paris and Berlin
  • 19 private archives (for which I cannot be grateful enough)
  • 46 newspapers from all around the world
  • 259 books in English, German, French, Italian, Hungarian and Polish
  • 300 hours of interviews with European professionals, former collaborators or their descendants 

I looked at the shows from two major viewpoints: first, focusing on changes in legal regulations and the institutional stucture. Despite the fact, that the Soviet system was to be copied mechanically, the new communist entertainment company was original and unique without any precedent or model. The second aspect is a structural analysis of the shows: new staging practices (producing, casting, designing, directing), show effects and elements. Separate chapters talk about circus and sideshows, how the Iron Curtain changed their repertoire and their agency- and family-based structure. An extensive analysis of scenography (sets, costume, infrastructure) concludes the book with 130 pictures.

The book has an English summary, however, I am working on its English translation (with
revisions and cuts for international readers). Drop me a line if you are a publisher or know one who could be interested!

Read more about the study here.

Order the original with English summary directly from the publisher!

Selected essays, reviews and other publications

My reviews of Berlin shows are published by the Operetta Research Center. Perhaps the most significant of them is « Frau Luna and the Budapester Luft: the Berlin ‘national’ operetta vs. the Hungarian ‘National Operetta’ » in which I analyzed the situation of operetta in recent Hungarian political discourse.

I wrote a review in the journal of the Hungarian Dance Academy about Francine Fourmaux
work on Paris show girls and variety shows:  Francine Fourmaux: « Belles de Paris. Une ethnologie du music-hall » In: Tánctudományi közlemények 2014/2. VI. évf. 2.

I also worked as illustration editor (collaborating with Éva Keleti) on this important memoir of a Hungarian theatre professional: Lázár Egon: Visszapillantó. Színházi évtizedek. Corvina, 2014

And on its ‘sequel’ too: Lázár Egon: Ráadás. Újabb visszapillantások. Corvina, 2017

« Utcagyerek állami gondozásban – Revűtáncosok a
Rákosi-korszakban » In: Parallel. Kortárs művészeti magazin, 2015. No. 33. p.
32-35.

« A jazz és swing szerepei a pesti revűkben 1949-1952 között » In: Magyar Jazzkutatási Konferencia. Szerkesztette: Simon Géza Gábor, 2016. p. 82-91.

«A szocialista szellem vasútján túl: A városligeti Vurstli és az Angol Park átalakítási tervei 1949-1950 » In: Kultúra és Közösség,  2016/IV. p. 19-28.

« Művészi elgondolás: Miss Arizona és Rozsnyai Sándor. Az Arizona Revue Dancing műsora és hatáskeltő elemei 1932-1944. » In: Replika, 2017/1-2. p. 89-118.

«‘A Whirlwind from the Puszta’. Hungarian and Hungarian Style Variety Acts in Berlin, 1920–1961.» Acta Ethnographica Hungarica 64. p. 211-226.

Coming soon

«288 metres of velvet, 16 pairs of shoes, 12 yellow top hats, 5 bathtubs... – The staging and the cultural impact of the 1925 production of Halló, Amerika! in the Budapest Operetta Theatre.» In: Studia Musicologica Labacensia

«’Revues have no allowances, but requirements...’ – Set and costume design for socialist revues in Budapest, 1949-1952.» In: Popular music theatre under socialism – Operettas and musicals in the Eastern States 1945 to 1990. Universität Freiburg - Zentrum für populäre Kultur und Musik

«A szeszély palotája: az Oroszi Caprice» Uránia – Hungarian National Cinema