Immigrant Musical Theater in America, 1840-1940


ACLS Project Development Grants




Over a century’s time American immigrant composers, playwrights, and performers used parody, sentimentality, humor, and political satire in non-English-language musicals to explore the human condition, highlight local immigrant community engagement with and distinction from larger American life, and address themes of social class, inequality, gender, and ethnicity, as well as American and original homeland ideals. Immigrant impresarios imported musical stage works from the “old country” and presented them alongside new American immigrant-themed musicals. This project documents these musical stages throughout the United States, establishes common trends in US immigrant performance, and interprets the importance of musical theater for immigrant audiences. The ACLS grant will support summer salary to work on this book project.