New York University / Steinhardt
Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions
Program in Vocal Performance

Music Theatre History II: 1943 to the Present

MPAVP-UE 1352.001

Professor John Kenrick
Time: Friday 9:30-11:35
Office Hours: by appointment

Through lectures, video clips, recordings and assigned readings, we will trace the evolution of musical theatre from 1930 to the present day. Music Theatre History Part II will provide students with:

- Become familiar with the plots, key numbers, and historical significance of landmark musicals.
- Learn about individuals that played key roles in the development of the musical theatre over the last eight decades.
- Understand the influence that culture, economics and politics have had on the musical stage. Recognize major genres of musical theatre (musical play, mega-musical, juke box musicals, etc.).
- Grasp the ongoing development of musical theatre as an art form and a business.

Grading will be based on two written exams (50% of grade), a brief research paper (20% of grade) as well as quizzes and classroom participation (30%). The mid-term is a take home, and the final exam will be given in class during finals week. If required departmental events alter our class schedule, the instructor may have to adjust these criteria.

The research paper is to be 5-6 pages in length, focusing on any creative talent or performer that we cover this semester. You are required to submit your topic for approval at midterm, and must reference at least two books other than our textbooks. The paper is due week 10.

Class participation is a major component of your final grade, so you are expected to attend ALL lectures, and to be on time. You must make sure to sign the attendance sheet even if you arrive late; otherwise, you may be counted absent. Every class will include rare video clips that may not be available to you elsewhere.

Any unexcused absence will lower your final term grade by one full grade level. Inexcusable absences include oversleeping, auditions, vacation plans, etc. Excusable absences include medical, family emergency, etc. When possible, send me an email with the appropriate information prior to your absence, and I will let you know if it can be excused.

PLEASE NOTE: Electronic devices are welcomed in class for note taking. However, web browsing, emails, texting, phone calls, checking phone messages and other extraneous uses of such devices during class are strictly prohibited, and can result in deductions from your class participation grade for the semester – 10 points per infraction. After a third infraction, further disciplinary action may be taken. In other words: surf, text & check messages on your own time.


- Musical Theatre: A History, John Kenrick (2010)

- On-line text for additional reference:

Weekly reading assignments, as well as dates for exams and the term paper are posted at

You must have an active NYU email account that you check on a regular basis. This is the most reliable way for me to communicate with you regarding last minute changes, and for you to reach me regarding questions, etc. If you wish to meet with me, please email me via for an appointment. Because I commute, the best times to meet are before or after class.

Special needs: I want to make the course as inclusive as possible, so please let me know if there is anything I should be aware of regarding you, such as a particular medical condition, a sensory or hidden disability, etc. that might affect your participation in the course or your personal well-being.  This disclosure is of course optional, or if you wish, only for selected individuals. Any student attending NYU who needs an accommodation due to a chronic, psychological, visual, mobility and/or learning disability, or is Deaf or Hard of Hearing should register with the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities. It provides comprehensive services and programs for NYU undergraduate and graduate students with hearing and visual impairments, mobility impairments, learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, chronic illnesses, and psychological impairments. The Moses Center functions to determine qualified disability status and to assist students in obtaining appropriate accommodations and services. Services provided are designed to encourage independence and self-advocacy, backed by a comprehensive system of supports. The Center is located at 726 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, New York 10003. Phone and TTY: 212-998-4980; Fax: 212-995-4114; Web: at 212.998.4980.

Academic Honesty: You are responsible for knowing the University’s issued standards of academic honesty outlines in the student handbook. It is your responsibility to uphold these policies and actively avoid any behavior that is or that may be construed by any instructor as academic dishonesty. This means that you must write your own papers and see assigned performances in their entirety, and must not pass on information regarding them to other students who have not seen those performances. You must also be careful with your behavior during exams administered in class. If you are ever unsure about this policy, please meet with me or a teaching assistant of further clarification. The standard penalty for academic dishonesty, including plagiarism (presenting someone else’s ideas or writing as your own) consists of an automatic “F” for the course and notification of campus authorities.

Open Door Policy: It is my intention to maintain a safe and comfortable learning environment for everyone in the class. If at any time you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, please feel free to address this issue with me. You can approach me before or after class, or if you wish please email to set up another mutually convenient time when we can meet.


Week 1 (1/26): Rodgers & Hammerstein: Oklahoma & Beyond

Week 2 (2/2): After R&H: Broadway's Golden Age

Week 3 (2/9): Anatomy of a Hit: My Fair Lady

Week 4 (2/16): Career in Profile: Ethel Merman

Week 5 (2/23): Directors: Abbott, Robbins, Fosse

Week 6 (3/2): More Golden Age Musicals

Week 7 (3/9): 1960s - The Parade Passes By (Mid-Term Exam IN CLASS)

(3/16 - Spring Break)

Week 8 (3/23): Sondheim & Prince: Worlds to Change

Week 9 (3/30): 1970s: The Main Stem Becomes a Side Street

Week 10 (4/6): 1980s: Mega-musicals - Term Paper Due IN CLASS

Week 11 (4/13): 1990s: Who's the Leader of the Club?

Week 12 (4/20): Nowadays: Jukebox Jive, Cartoon Candy

Week 13 (4/27): Anatomy of a Hit: To Be Determined

Week 14 (5/4): The Future? - Final Exam IN CLASS