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University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 4 - Fall 2012 - Spring 2013

Do, Re, Media: The Image of the Journalist in the Broadway Musical

Kate Rooney

Abstract


Since the vaudevillian era, musicals have sought to provide audience members with a realistic, if heightened, slice of life. As the zenith for any newly crafted musical play, Broadway has been home to characters from all walks of life and many professions, including journalists. This paper compares the journalists of the stage to those portrayed in film and television. Of 15 musicals produced from 1945-2012 that were identified as having journalists in major or supporting roles, nine are analyzed here through multiple close readings of their scripts and thorough listening to the soundtracks of each musical. The six musicals not included in this analysis were omitted because the scripts were never made commercially available; however, they are listed in the appendix with brief synopses. The research presented here describes the characters in individual detail and compares them to traditional onscreen journalists. Additionally, the paper explores the public impact of these characters, based on popularity, length of Broadway run, and original theatrical reviews.

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