International Conference STAGESTRUCK 5! To Explore Hollywood Musicals

Registration open now for StageStruck! 5, set for May 15-17, which will include academic presentations, interactive online participation and public film screenings.

By: Feb. 20, 2024
International Conference STAGESTRUCK 5! To Explore Hollywood Musicals
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Hollywood musicals from the early to mid-20th century have become staples of American culture, shared through the generations and kept alive by strong feelings of nostalgia. Yet these films also reflect the times in which they were made, with representations of race, gender, disability and sexuality that clash with contemporary values. What are the implications of their continuing popularity?

Nostalgia and the Hollywood Musical is the theme for StageStruck! 5, an international academic conference taking place May 15-17 in central Indiana. Hosted by the Carmel-based Great American Songbook Foundation in partnership with the University of Sheffield (U.K.), the conference at the Center for the Performing Arts will attract scholars and students from around the world, with sessions hosted in a hybrid format offering interactive online participation as well as on-site attendance.

Registration is open through April 15 at, where the full schedule is available. Questions can be addressed to

In conjunction with the conference, the Songbook Foundation will host a mini-festival of the Hollywood musical, open to conference attendees and the general public, that will include screenings of classic films, Q&A opportunities with notable industry guests, and a special concert by Songbook Foundation Founder Michael Feinstein. All activities are included with full conference registration and are available as add-on options with single-day passes. Tickets for individual events will go on sale to the public this spring.

This is the fifth StageStruck! conference convened by Dominic Broomfield-McHugh, Professor of Musicology at the University of Sheffield. His recent books The Oxford Handbook of the Hollywood Musical and The Big Parade: Meredith Willson's Musicals from The Music Man to 1491, both published by Oxford University Press.

“In a post-COVID world, the past takes on new meanings: Are we nostalgic about the way things were or for the way we wish they were?” Broomfield-McHugh said. “With the enduring popularity of classics like Meet Me in St. Louis and new musical films on the way like the movie adaptation of Wicked, it's a great time to reflect on how the movie musical helps reveal who we are, who we were, and who we want to be.”

The scheduled keynote speakers are:

  • Maya Cantu, Bennington College – “‘A Bed of Roses, Thorny Side Up': Countering Nostalgia in Bradford Ropes's 42nd Street and in the Backstage Novel”
  • Desirée Garcia, Dartmouth College – “How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Musical?: Genre, Nostalgia, and Race”
  • Julianne Lindberg, University of Nevada, Reno – “A Star is Born (1932-2018): Nostalgia, Hollywood Pastiche, and the Idea of Entertainment”
  • Hannah Lewis, University of Texas at Austin – “La La Land's Nostalgia”

The conference also will include a showcase of the Songbook Foundation's archival holdings on musical film and theater, including the papers of The Music Man creator Meredith Willson, songwriter Gus Kahn, and EGOT-winning performer Liza Minnelli.

Attendance and pricing options include:

  • On-site: Full conference $230, single day $70
  • Online: Full conference $90, single day $30
  • Student: Full conference on-site $80, single day on-site $20, online only FREE

Reduced lodging rates are available at local hotels.

The Songbook Foundation is committed to making its programming widely accessible. To diversify participation and promote inclusivity at StageStruck! 5, financial assistance and fee waivers are available for attendees with limited resources and those from underrepresented groups.

About the Great American Songbook Foundation

The mission of the Great American Songbook Foundation, founded in 2007 by five-time Grammy Award nominee Michael Feinstein, is to inspire and educate by celebrating the timeless standards of pop, jazz, Broadway and Hollywood. Headquartered at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, the Foundation advances this rich legacy by curating physical artifacts of its creators, performers and publishers in the Songbook Library & Archives; operating a multimedia exhibit gallery; overseeing the Songbook Hall of Fame; offering programs for the public and research opportunities for scholars and artists; and providing educational opportunities for student musicians, including the annual Songbook Academy summer intensive. The Foundation is a Cultural Affiliate of the Los Angeles-based Grammy Museum. More information is available at


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