First Advisor

Singleton, Kenneth

Second Advisor

Reddick, Carissa

Document Type


Date Created



Jason Robert Brown is emerging as one of Broadway’s top musical theater composers. The majority of musical theater scholarship focuses on extra-musical elements; the only composer who has been examined by the music academy is Stephen Sondheim. Brown has been described as a “disciple” of Sondheim, and is on his way to equaling his predecessor’s longevity and fame. This study examines the compositional style of Brown, and explores his ability to use musical elements to enhance the drama of the musical through his first four productions: Songs For A New World, Parade, The Last Five Years, and 13. Brown’s treatment of song forms and types, rhythmic tendencies, and allusions to various styles are included. Throughout this research, comparisons are made to composers from the Golden Age of musical theater, as well as contemporary composers such as Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber.


Jason Robert Brown, The Last Five Years, Theory


267 pages

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