This Critical Companion to the American Stage Musical provides the perfect introductory text for students of theatre, music and cultural studies. It traces the history and development of the industry and art form in America with a particular focus on its artistic and commercial development in New York City from the early 20th century to the present. Emphasis is placed on commercial, artistic and cultural events that influenced the Broadway musical for an ever-renewing, increasingly broad and diverse audience: the Gilded Age, the Great Depression, the World War II era, the British invasion in the 1980s and the media age at the turn of the twenty-first century. Supplementary essays by leading scholars provide detailed focus on the American musical's production and preservation, as well as its influence on daily life on the local, national, and international levels. For students, these essays provide models of varying approaches and interpretation, equipping them with the skills and understanding to develop their own analysis of key productions.