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Based on the biographies and autobiographies of one hundred and seventeen American show people, Life upon the Wicked Stage delves into the lives of entertainers-musicians, singers, dancers, comics, and variety artists. This sociological study first shares the history of show business from its beginnings to present-day, where the public's fascination with entertainers and celebrities is avid. Then, Boles analyzes the entertainers and their family backgrounds, investigates their reasons for choosing entertainment, and explores their career patterns. This study also shows the affects that show business has on family and relationships, and it discusses the costs and rewards of life as a performer.
Life upon the Wicked Stage illustrates that live entertainment has changed dramatically over the last one hundred and fift y years while remaining remarkably unchanged. Boles communicates that the show must go on.
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