America's rise to dominance of the musical comedy genre began in the early 1900s, just as British musical comedy was approaching its peak.
George Cohan was the first American composer of shows to be described as musical comedy, but his compositions drew heavily on European musical styles and generic plotlines lifted wholesale and transplanted to American locations.
His popularity was huge, albeit short-lived, but it had whetted the US appetite for musical comedy.
The emergence of a truly American style was largely due to Jerome Kern, who had received his early training as a songwriter in London.
His first contributions to musical comedy in America were additional songs written for the US adaptations of successful British shows such as The Earl And The Girl by Ivan Caryll.
What he and others later achieved was to combine elements of the black musical genres of jazz and ragtime - then moving into the mainstream - with the established principles of successful musical comedy: witty lyrics, singalong tunes and romantic plotlines.
Several established British composers of musical comedy, among them Ivan Caryll, had by now settled in the States and were adapting their styles to the tastes of their new audience.
Their familiar names drew British audiences to shows which came over on tour.
By the mid-1920s, American musical comedies - by then known simply as musicals were in the ascendant over their British antecedents, a trend which continued for most of the next fifty years.