The cost of change: the representation of African-Americans in musical theatre

Newman, James (2008) The cost of change: the representation of African-Americans in musical theatre. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The Cost of Change aims to explore and discuss the representation of African-Americans through the form of musical theatre, whilst also taking in to consideration other entertainment mediums. In turn, the dissertation provides evidence to support the argument that money has complete control of the depiction of African-Americans. It does this firstly by analysing the early history of musical theatre, from the mid-1800s and the impact of minstrelsy, analysing how the minstrel shows constructed negative stereotypes of African-Americans and the effect this had on the shaping of America’s cultural structure. Following on from this will be a comparison of two case studies. They will provide a detailed description of representation of African-Americans, firstly in the musical Show Boat (1927) and then secondly Caroline, or Change (2003). From these case studies, a clearly understanding of how depiction in musical theatre has change in the intervening years and what that tells us about America’s society today. Finally, the study surveys the surrounding mediums of film, television and music, comparing their portrayal of African-Americans to those within musical theatre. The Cost of Change argues that it is not simply about misrepresentation of blacks, but how the pieces that hold together America’s cultural structure define it.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:15

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