Date of Award

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Gillian M Rodger

Second Advisor

Tim Sterner Miller


19th-century, George Edwardes, Ivan Caryll, Musical Comedy, Sidney Jones, Tams-Witmark Collection


The genre label 'musical comedy' gained its stride in the 1920s, but the term emerged as early as the 1870s. These early musical comedies are often overlooked in the historical discussion of musical theater, due to a lack of integration between the storyline and musical numbers. With the help of the Tams-Witmark collection, housed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Mills Music Library, this paper examines how two of these early musical comedies, composed by England’s Ivan Caryll and Sidney Jones, were exported and used by touring theater companies in The United States. These flexible musical comedies complicate the kinds of expectations established by the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, who combined elements drawn from literary burlesque with traditional opera structure. The types of musical comedies written by Caryll and Jones represent the flexible strand of musical comedy that combined elements drawn from satirical burlesque, variety sketch, and pantomime.