The musical has been considered an 'American cultural form' and a genre that, for about a century, suited both the mentality and the cultural economy of the United States. In this lecture, we will combine an overview of the cultural and social history of the USA with the interpretation of some landmark musicals that also became films (or are on Youtube). We will locate selected musicals in American history with regard to the time of their production and the time depicted in the musicals. Selected scenes from various musicals will be embedded in the political and cultural discourses of the time. We will cover a wide range of musicals, from the early musicals Showboat (film 1936, musical 1927) and Porgy and Bess (1959/1935) through the musicals of the 1960s and 1970s including West Side Story (1957/1961) and Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) to recent productions such as Assassins (1996) and Hamilton (2015).