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The Surprising History of Musical Theater

Submitted by Arts & Sciences Web Team on May 22, 2019 - 5:00pm
David Armstrong stands at the front doors of the 5th Avenue Theater.
David Armstrong

When American leaders discuss how immigration has shaped the United States, they never mention musical theater. Perhaps they should.

“There would be no Broadway musicals if America’s doors had not been opened wide to immigrants,” says David Armstrong, affiliate instructor in the UW School of Drama, who views the rise of the Broadway musical as largely an immigration story. Armstrong shares that history in a new course, The Broadway Musical: How Immigrants, Queers, Jews, and African Americans Created America’s Signature Art Form.

David Armstrong outside the 5th Avenue Theater, where he served as executive producer and artistic director for nearly two decades.
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