The Arrival of the Modern American Musical
Evolving from a lineage of minstrel show, operetta, vaudeville, revue, burlesque and extravaganzas, the modern American Musical form was built on the best of the past and the most fascinating of the present. With carefully crafted scripts that wove plot and music together, allowed for humor, romance and the ever-present antagonist, balanced talented male and female leads with singing and dancing choruses, and occasionally found the opulence and visual delights of beautiful sets and costumes, the modern American musical had found its own place on the 20th century stage. The new form was guided by composers who crafted songs and incidental music specifically for the moment and writers who were willing to shape lyrics and dialogue to be subservient to the dramatic moment. The descendant of the 19th century stage forms was able to plow new ground stylistically and was enthusiastically welcomed by American audiences.