- Elizabeth Wollman
A broad and loosely defined subgenre of the American musical, which reflects the influence of rock music’s stylistic and performance aesthetics, and which has developed on and off Broadway since the late 1960s, initially in response to the tastes of the baby-boomer generation.
Since the rock musical emerged in the late 1960s, countless American musicals have reflected at least some rock influence, and there remains some inconsistency with which the term has been applied. Initially, many musicals that revealed even trace hints of contemporary popular music influence were dubbed “rock musicals” by theater critics and historians, many of whom were unfamiliar with contemporary popular music trends to begin with. Conversely, and especially from the late 1970s, many musicals with scores heavily influenced by rock music have consciously not been identified as such by their creators, producers, or press agents due to a common industry fear that labeling any show a “rock musical” will significantly limit its potential audience....