theater, drama, music, womens studies


The demimondaine, an exclusive courtesan in nineteenth-century Europe, and the modern mezzo-soprano protagonist are prevalent characters in American musical theatre and can be observed in various styles throughout European music and drama. In Arthur Schnitzler s The Little Comedy, the female protagonist is both a romantic heroine and mistress; and in Jules Renard s Le Pain de Ménage, the lead player is anything but the classic ingénue. In preparation for performance and to further the research in the contemporary music comedy realm, I prepared for the roles of Josefine and Monica in the University of Central Florida s production of Barry Harman and Keith Herrmann s Romance, Romance through in-depth analysis on the performance development process of two distinct female protagonist characters. I first researched the historical world of the demimonde: identifying key characteristics of these famed courtesans and their fashionable emergence as tart with a heart characters in nineteenth-century dramatic works. Second, I traced the evolution of the fallen woman archetypal character and the mezzo-soprano from European grand opera and realism to contemporary musical theatre. This research better defined my character type and therefore assisted in performance preparation. Third, Act I s The Little Comedy is a period piece set in nineteenth-century Vienna, and Harman s and Herrmann s adaptation reflect the musical and social aspects of the time. Through historical research on operetta style and the creators perspectives, I more fully developed my understanding and performance interpretation in Romance, Romance. Finally, I evaluated my characterization process with a discussion of the practical implementation of research on the musical performance process. This thesis document adds to the wealth of pre-existing musical theatre character analysis and discusses key components associated with the development of the modern female protagonist. Identifying the evolution of the tart with a heart stock character from its European origins to its current Broadway prominence, this manuscript advances the academic field with the illumination of the demimonde in American musical theatre. Last, for the purpose of developing believable and realistic characters for musical performance, this document analyzes and evaluates the research methods used to inform the rehearsal process when developing two female protagonist characters in contemporary musical theatre.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date



Weaver, Earl


Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program









Release Date

December 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)