Liz Schafroth BFA Thesis Spring 2012
Broadway: a visual history of America
In an exploration of the history of Broadway and the American musical my thesis is a recreation of seven posters for musicals that have exemplified the social issues from their era. I have illustrated how Broadway has mirrored culture and society, representing not only a historical account of musicals but also a glance at post WWII America. Musicals have a way of capturing life and culture in art that encompass so many other different types of art. Ivo Osolsobe (a Czech theater semiotician) said, the musical is “the theater which speaks, sings, and dances.” But the ‘Musical’ is also instrumental, authorship, carpentry, design, organization and so much more. My installation is a good reflection of the multi-media arts of Broadway.
My seven recreations of the posters for Broadway musicals represent a different decade in America’s recent history. My posters are a mash up of illustration of the musical itself and the symbols that exemplify the time period from which the musical came. My posters specifically are a mix of digital art, screenprinting, painting and design.
The thesis is presented in a timeline. I feel that the posters created a good visual history that could live in no other form. Broadway specifically reflects western life and social issues throughout the last century. It can represent different American dreams as history progressed. Its own history and development is very fascinating as well, being directly affected by things like prohibition, the wars, social movements and economic developments. Broadway has been a social reflection on American and western societies.