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A Broadway musical is both a risky and an exciting proposition.It is the most costly business venture in the theater.As the musical got more complex, it required a director to shape the production and its design and concept. Kaufman and George Abbott emerged in the ’30s; currently major artists like Harold Prince, Jerry Zaks, and Julie Taymor are key to shaping a musical’s success.
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This amount must not only cover getting the show to opening night but also create a financial cushion for several weeks or months until the show catches on with audiences.
But, beginning in the 1930s, the situation, the book or libretto, of the musical started to achieve primary importance.
A story or narrative became more frequently the spine of the musical, and in the 1940s, mostly due to the narrative sophistication of the shows of Rodgers and Hammerstein, the songs followed the plot and the characters, rather than the other way around.
It evolved over time and incorporates a variety of influences and elements. Minstrel songs and the cakewalk; Irish ballads and patriotic jingles; ragtime marches and stirring blues; poignant torch songs and jazz ditties; totemic anthems and rock opera — the musical has captured every idiom of American expression.
There is definitely a “Broadway” sound, often referred to as “Tin Pan Alley,” a musical structure pioneered by songwriters like Irving Berlin and Richard Rodgers.