There are many times in the history of the United States where turbulent times brought a need for ways to refocus the attention of the people towards something more pleasant. One way that has worked throughout time is musical theatre. Generally, each era of turbulence has shown a variety of musicals that dealt with the issues of that time. Some were done for the "feel good" quality to help audiences escape from the turmoil of the world’s problems for awhile. In other eras the musicals were more political and dealt with issues of protest using parody and sarcasm to get people to look at the political issues of the time. Within the last several years, as the country deals with a global economic crisis that is uncertain, musicals have become popular again as a vehicle of escape. This research will explore musical theatre and movies from 1920 to the present time. It will explore specific musicals and periods of history that produced a significant turbulent time and how these times effected and influenced the audiences.

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