Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre Arts

First Committee Member

Nate Bynum

Second Committee Member

Michael Tylo

Third Committee Member

Judith Ryerson

Fourth Committee Member

Clifford McClain

Number of Pages



In the history of musical theatre there have been several celebrated composer-lyricist teams. For over thirty years in the modern era the talents of librettist-lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty have been heard on stage, in movies, and on television, both in collaboration with others and together. When they formed their professional partnership in 1983 they made a team that would give modern musical theatre its most unique pairing. Their work is not easy to identify. Their source materials vary greatly from show to show and the musical style is never the same. With their level of output, talents, and accolades it is curious that no one has written anything definitive and solely about them and their careers. They seem to be a footnote or passing fancy in most texts on musical theatre. Information about them is usually in the form of transcribed interviews and quotes for other stories or a short biography as a lead-in to an often too brief discussion of one of their shows. Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have been one of the most compelling and vital librettist-composer teams writing for musical theatre in the latter part of the twentieth century and now into the twenty-first. It is the purpose of this thesis to give them and their work proper attention, and to demonstrate their validity and importance to the genre for the past three decades and into the future.


Ahrens; Lynn; Flaherty; Stephen; A Man of No Importance; Musical theater; My Favorite Year; Musicals – History and criticism; Once On This Island; Ragtime; Seussical


Theatre and Performance Studies | Theatre History

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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