Musical Theater Studies: A Critical View of the Discipline’s History in the United States and the United Kingdom
Elizabeth L. Wollman
Abstract. This article traces the formation and development of musical theater studies in the United States and United Kingdom from the last decades of the twentieth century to the present. It discusses important trends in academia, technology, publishing, and law in both countries as they relate to the development of the discipline. The author cites a variety of scholarly writings in musical theater studies, as well as conversations with a wide range of scholars in the field and the results from a questionnaire circulated via social media and email to contemporary musical theater scholars. The article first presents a critical review of the history of musical theater studies in the US and the UK, then discusses the state of present scholarship, and concludes with suggestions for future directions in the field.
How to cite this article: Wollman, Elizabeth L. 2021. “Musical Theater Studies: A Critical View of the Discipline’s History in the United States and the United Kingdom.”Music Research Annual 2: 1–29. https://doi.org/10.48336/vkn9-vc70
About the author: Elizabeth L. Wollman is Professor of Music at Baruch College, City University of New York, and a member of the doctoral faculty in theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has written extensively about the contemporary American musical and is the author of the books The Theatre Will Rock: A History of the Rock Musical from “Hair” to “Hedwig” (2006), Hard Times: The Adult Musical in 1970s New York City (2012), and A Critical Companion to the American Stage Musical (2017). With Jessica Sternfeld, she was co-editor of The Routledge Companion to the Contemporary Musical (2020) and is currently co-editor of the journal Studies in Musical Theatre.