Isn’t It Romantic? The Broadway Musical from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim

Song. Dance. Man. Woman. These are the basic components of the Broadway musical theatre. How have musical theatre artists, composers, lyricists, librettists, directors, choreographers, and designers worked with these building blocks to create this quintessentially American form of art and entertainment? Why are musicals structured by love and romance? This course will explore conventional and resistant performances of gender and sexuality in the Broadway musical since the 1940s.

Sample reading list:
Rodgers and Hammerstein, South Pacific
Miranda and Hudes, In the Heights
Hamlisch, Kleeban, Bennett, A Chorus Line
Bernstein, Sondheim, Laurents, West Side Story
Webber, The Phantom of the Opera
Tesori and Kron, Fun Home
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
One musical each week, plus theoretical and critical articles. Papers include libretto analysis, musical number analysis, dramaturgical research, critique of a scholarly reading. Other projects include creative response, research presentation, student-facilitated class discussion.

Other information:
The seminar will be supplemented with visiting guest artists and scholars and a field trip to NYC to visit the archives at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center and theatre-going. Weekly viewing of taped Broadway or film versions of each musical are required on your own. We will explore the Broadway musical as an artistic genre with unique conventions of aesthetics and form, and as a form of entertainment media that shaped and was shaped by its historical, cultural context.




Tuesday, 1:30-4:20 p.m.


Stacy Wolf