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MUSC 115: History of the Broadway Musical: Home

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

A note from your instructor:

"In this course, primary sources might include newspaper reviews written at the time of a show’s premiere, promotional materials (e.g., print ads or commercials), interviews with a musical’s creators or performers, audio or video recordings of a performance (e.g., cast albums), and a musical’s book (that is, its script) and score (piano-vocal scores are fine for our purposes). Secondary sources should include scholarly perspectives taken from peer-reviewed journals and/or books."

Manage & Organize

EasyBib Academic Edition

EasyBib is a citation management tool designed to help you corral your sources as you find them. There are many out there, but EasyBib is the one that the library supports.


Essay #2: Researched argument about a musical revival or film adaptation
4 (full) to 6 pages, double-spaced, plus a Works Cited page

Prompt: Select a film adaptation or major stage revival of a musical and, using a minimum of five sources, make an argument for how and why it was relevant for audiences at the time of its premiere. You should discuss in detail at least two songs from your musical.

At least two of your five sources should be reviews from a major newspaper or magazine.
At least two of your sources should be peer-reviewed.

Annotated Bibliography and Working Thesis due Monday, April 10.

Final Paper due Friday, May 5.

Group presentation (15–20 minutes)

Due May 2nd & May 4th

Near the end of the semester, you will prepare and deliver a 20-minute presentation with two or three classmates. Your group should find a musical that we are not studying in class, and make a researched argument about how that musical spoke (or speaks) to its particular socio-historical moment. The musical you choose should be a first-run stage production—i.e., not a revival or a film musical. Your presentation should draw upon both primary and secondary sources and fully orient audience members to the musical you’re investigating.

You should divide labor evenly among members of the group: one person should research the sociohistorical context from which the musical emerged, another person should research the creation of the musical (its source materials, collaborators, backers, etc.), and a third person should research the musical’s reception by audiences and critics.

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