Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre Arts

First Committee Member

Jeffrey Koep

Number of Pages



This thesis traces how the artistry of the Broadway musical reflects the condition of the American attitude as influenced by the events of its time. From two historical events, Vietnam to Watergate, there is a shift in attitude evident in two pieces of musical theater, Hair and Chicago. What is fascinating is that both Vietnam and Watergate are tragic events: one because of the unnecessary loss of life, and the other because of a loss of faith. Hair is a revolutionary play that indicates the survival of spirit and compassion through rock music and lyrics that reflect the culture of its characters. Chicago, however, treats murder with a tongue-in-cheek attitude in its seductive dances and vaudeville acts, luring an audience into inhumanity. Commercial art thrives on plays that appeal to its target audience as proven by today's successful runs of Rent (a musical often compared to Hair) and the revival of Chicago.


American; Artistry; Attitude; Bob Fosse; Chicago; Galt Macdermot; Gerome Ragni; Hair; James Rado; Macdermot; Musicals Ragni; Reflected; Revolt; Revolution; Shift; Theatre; Vietnam; Watergate

Controlled Subject


File Format


File Size

1402.88 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas


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