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Despite the prevalent use of Latin American musical styles in American musical theatre, little research has been done on the subject. Quite often the fact that a musical number even has a Latin beat goes unrecognized. This paper examines the various genres of Latin American music that have had an impact in the United States and in musical shows both on and off Broadway. Exploring a large number of examples from musicals throughout the 20th century has caused trends and tendencies in the way Latin music has been used come to light. These include common thematic content and stereotypes and similarities in mood and atmosphere. This work increases our understanding of how to identify various Latin styles in shows and how to discern why the composer made such a choice.
Adviser: Peter M. Lefferts