Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Cindy Melby Phaneuf


This thesis is concerned with Elizabeth Swados’s musical, Runaways. The original production was preformed in New York City in 1978 after a ten-month long workshop where actual runaways were interviewed and their stories recorded for later use in production. The musical was a surprise hit, even though the reviews were mixed. It was successful, at least in part, because of its departure from what is normally expected of a musical. Following the influences of such musicals as A Chorus Line and Hair, Runaways was one of the original “concept musicals” which began to flourish in the 1970s. This musical was different than the more well known hits of Rodgers and Hammerstein because: it had no “book”; it was more serious in nature than most popular musicals; it contained an electric mixture of music, ranging from reggae to blues to country; it used a combination of professional young actors and real runaway teenagers; and it was an ensemble approach, meaning that the monologues and songs were not connected by a storyline, but rather the connection was the cast themselves.


A Thesis-Equivalent Project Presented to the Department of Dramatic Arts and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1993 Dan P. Hays.