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ANYTHING BUT CRAZY: HOW AMERICAN MUSICAL THEATRE CAN CHANGE SOCIETAL STIGMAS AGAINST MENTAL ILLNESSES

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Date Issued:
2018
Abstract/Description:
There is a societal stigma that villainizes or degrades anyone diagnosed or associated with any mental illness. While many different forms of media have attempted to destroy this stigma through psycho-centric narratives, I wanted to argue that musical theatre has the greatest potential as a live entertainment source to deconstruct and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. For my research, I theorized that musical theatre can most effectively change societal stigma about mental illness by communicating a clear understanding of the disease through music, and achieving popularity in the public eye longer than other live forms of theatre. I chose to focus on four of those musicals: Lady in the Dark by Moss Hart, Kurt Weill, and Ira Gershwin which talks about depression and anxiety in the 1940s; Spring Awakening, adapted from Frank Wedekind's original play by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, which discusses depression and suicidal tendencies, specifically in students; Next to Normal by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt which revolves around bipolar disorder; and Dear Evan Hansen by Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul which talks about the prevalence of anxiety disorders in society. With this thesis I wanted to further the progression of destigmatizating mental illnesses through the medium of musical theatre. Through an analysis of these well-known musicals that focus on mental illnesses and the psychological research that follows, I proposed a short song cycle that continues this evolution of mental illness musicals. Through this process, I theorized that musical theatre will decrease the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and will promote treatment and care when dealing with mental illnesses.
Title: ANYTHING BUT CRAZY: HOW AMERICAN MUSICAL THEATRE CAN CHANGE SOCIETAL STIGMAS AGAINST MENTAL ILLNESSES.
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Name(s): Walton, Benjamin, Author
Weaver, Earl, Committee Chair
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2018
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: There is a societal stigma that villainizes or degrades anyone diagnosed or associated with any mental illness. While many different forms of media have attempted to destroy this stigma through psycho-centric narratives, I wanted to argue that musical theatre has the greatest potential as a live entertainment source to deconstruct and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. For my research, I theorized that musical theatre can most effectively change societal stigma about mental illness by communicating a clear understanding of the disease through music, and achieving popularity in the public eye longer than other live forms of theatre. I chose to focus on four of those musicals: Lady in the Dark by Moss Hart, Kurt Weill, and Ira Gershwin which talks about depression and anxiety in the 1940s; Spring Awakening, adapted from Frank Wedekind's original play by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, which discusses depression and suicidal tendencies, specifically in students; Next to Normal by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt which revolves around bipolar disorder; and Dear Evan Hansen by Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul which talks about the prevalence of anxiety disorders in society. With this thesis I wanted to further the progression of destigmatizating mental illnesses through the medium of musical theatre. Through an analysis of these well-known musicals that focus on mental illnesses and the psychological research that follows, I proposed a short song cycle that continues this evolution of mental illness musicals. Through this process, I theorized that musical theatre will decrease the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and will promote treatment and care when dealing with mental illnesses.
Identifier: CFH2000321 (IID), ucf:45842 (fedora)
Note(s): 2018-05-01
B.F.A.
College of Arts and Humanities, Theatre
Bachelors
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): Musical Theatre
Mental Illness
Destigmatization
Depression
Anxiety
Bipolar
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFH2000321
Restrictions on Access: public
Host Institution: UCF

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