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THEA 11013 Survey of Musical Theatre: The Basics

Where to Start...

So you have your assignment, and what databases are best, but how do you get started?

Here are 3 ideas...

1. Start with the title of any musical.  Search the databases and FrogScholar to see what you find.  You may hit on a topic or an idea that is talked about in a journal article. Look for articles that talk about musicals' or characters' in ways that impact culture, society, or politics.

2. Use a theme or idea.  Bad mothers, puberty, sex, gender, criminals and delinquents, race.  These are all great ideas to explore on Broadway. How do musicals treat these themes?

3. Use a time period or event. Portrayals of World War II, the Wild West, Harlem or productions done during the 60s Sexual Revolution or Civil Rights Movement. 

Developing an Idea

Here are a couple of tips on developing your presentation:

1. Look at databases or FrogScholar.  Search your idea  with the following terms: Musical or "musical theater"

3. After your search, look at the articles or books that come up?  Is there enough information? What looks interesting? Pick two items and read them.  If either seems interesting, examine the works cited/bibliography and see if you can find other items on the same topic that can help you with your presentation.

4. As you read, narrow down your topic.
Ex. Maybe you found that a good portion of musicals about crime dealing with young men or having an all-male cast.  You may want to do another search and look up "musical theater" AND "masculinity". You may want to search a psychology databases to see how violence and constructions of masculinity are related.


Humanities & Theatre

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Ammie E. Harrison
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