Liberal Arts > Music

General Information

  • Name: History of the American Musical Theater
  • Division: Liberal Arts
  • Discipline: Music
  • Units (Credits): 3.00

I. Catalog Course Description

Offers a cultural, musical and theatrical survey of musical theatre in the United States, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.


II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program.

By the completion of the class, the students should be able to:

  1. Explain what makes scores and libretti effective, recognize character development and note the function of songs in integrated musicals. (GE 1, 2)
  2. Describe the various key players that create and present a live musical. (GE 1, 2)
  3. Identify the art forms that preceded the American musical and show their influence in current musicals. (GE 1, 2)
  4. Recognize major musical theatre composers throughout the last century and identify their major contributions. (GE 1, 2)
  5. Identify different types of musicals, including jukebox, concept and book musicals. (GE 1, 2)
  6. Discuss the plots and reviews of several current shows on Broadway (GE 1, 2, 4)
  7. Demonstrate the use of music and dance to develop plot and character in integrated musicals. (GE 1, 2, 6)
  8. Show how the early forms of musicals influenced current Broadway repertoire. (GE 1, 6)

III. Topics

  • Elements of a musical: script, score
  • Key Players in a musical: Composer, Librettist, Producer, Director, Choreographer, etc.
  • Foundations of the musical: Minstrel shows, Burlesque, Vaudeville, Extravaganza, Operetta
  • Shows before the Golden Age
  • Composers and musicals of the Golden Age, the fusion of music, dance and libretto in storytelling
  • Composers and musicals of the 70’s through today
  • Concept musicals, Jukebox musicals, Megamusicals, Corporate musicals

Scheduled MUS-124 classes:

Fall 2019