Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Beth Osnes

Second Advisor

Bud Coleman

Third Advisor

Amanda Giguere


Human kind has long been fascinated by the stars. From the first instant our pre-historic ancestors looked up at the stars, they have wondered how they affect us. They have included these cosmic bodies in their artwork, and Broadway musical theatre artists have followed this pull. But, in a discipline that reads subtext and symbolism in every word, one has to wonder what this cosmic symbolism means. Does it only signify the setting and time of the musical (outside/inside, nighttime/daytime)? How does the use of the stars in the lyrics or libretto enhance the themes of the musicals? By examining the appearance of cosmic symbolism in Broadway musical theatre in relation to the long history of human fascination with the stars, this thesis aims to answer these questions, and to understand more fully the metaphoric role that the inclusion of the cosmic bodies can play in musical theatre.