Transportation, Transformation and Utopia in Musicals

Michael Eigtved


The article pursues the idea that means of transportation, and the way vehicles and vessels are brought to use in a number of musicals, can be seen as mediating between the present and the future. The author argues that they function as both symbolic and concrete tools for the audience to experience what Jill Dolan has pointed to as a revised understanding of utopia in the theatre. Using a range of examples and drawing also on Richard Dyer’s work on utopian elements in classic musicals, the author investigates the nature of this process and its affinity to the idea of the transformative power of theatre, put forward by Erika Fischer-Lichte. Michael Eigtved is Associate Professor in the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen. 

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