Ben J. Lundy

Date of Award





Theatre Education

Degree Type

Master of Education


Theatre Department

First Advisor

Dr. Larry Dooley

Second Advisor

Brenda May Ito

Third Advisor

Valerie Accetta


In 1991, William Strauss and Neil Howe published generational theory in Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584-2069. Though critiqued, Strauss and Howe’s generational theory suggests that American history occurs in cycles characterized by four distinct generational turnings or moods that occur approximately every eighty years, roughly the span of a human life. Though the theory has been applied to American history, usually through a political and economic lens, this thesis will focus on the most recent Millennial Cycle and apply the theory to the development of Broadway musical theatre history. Innovative musicals such as Oklahoma! (1943), Hair (1968), Rent (1996), and Hamilton (2015) and their place in musical theatre history support Strauss and Howe’s generational theory. The theory narrates a sociocultural perspective on the evolution of the Broadway musical, a distinctively American art form. The theory could forecast future trends and serve as a helpful framework for teaching musical theatre history.