Collins Living Learning Center | Singing and Dancing America
L210 | 28428 | Tom Robson


The American musical comedy has endured for well over a century, adapting to meet the
shifting needs and tastes of the American public. As such, the musical affords us an
opportunity to examine these shifting audience perspectives. How have musicals, both on
stage and on screen, challenged societal assumptions and prejudices over their lifespan?
Through reading and screening musicals from both stage and screen, this course asks
students to analyze these reflections of societal concerns and values. Course assignments
will include weekly online responses, one research paper, one presentation, and an end-of-
semester final project. Artwork is often a strong window into the beliefs of a society, yet the
musical has often been derided as too frivolous for study. This course will capitalize on the
very popularity that causes scholars to dismiss the musical to show how the form reveals a
great deal about American culture.