American Musicals


What is it about musicals that made them a uniquely American theatrical form? In this course, we will investigate how musicals represent what it means to be American. Musical theatre history is American history, indebted to and reflective of critical histories of appropriation, capitalism, immigration, and popular entertainment. Musicals seduce us in song and dance; it is easy to ignore the substance beneath the sequins. We will study the texts and historical contexts of musicals over the past century, from Shuffle Along, and Oklahoma!, to A Chorus Line, and Hamilton. Musicals reveal shifting notions of what 'American' means as they stage ability, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexuality.
Curriculum Codes
  • ALP
Cross-Listed As
  • MUSIC 243S