Ian Nisbet

Date of Submission



Jason Robert Brown is an American composer, lyricist, and book writer of contemporary musical theatre. He has been involved with many Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals and plays as composer, lyricist, arranger, orchestrator, musical director, conductor, musical staff, and musician. Of his three early­‐career musicals (Songs For a New World, Parade, and The Last 5 Years), only Parade has been produced on Broadway. Despite his nomination or receipt of thirteen industry awards, Brown’s compositional technique is highly under-researched. This study will analyse his compositional style in the afore-mentioned early-career works using Roman numeral chord theory and Schenkerian techniques with the aim of revealing aspects of Brown's compositional process. This study reveals that, while Brown has traditionally been understood as a member of Sondheim’s next generation, he can be better understood as a post-Sondheim, contemporary new‐music, post‐common-practice, post-diatonic, and Third‐Stream‐inspired musical theatre composer who always applies techniques in a way that serves the drama and complements or supports the on-­stage action.


School of Arts and Sciences

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


248 pages

Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)


Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Included in

Composition Commons