Broadway Musical Theater


    Course Description

                This course will examine musical theater through a variety of experiences.  Students will study the historical growth f the American Musical as it was influenced from Europe, off-Broadway, and cinematic musicals, as well as the development of musical theater from Vaudeville to its current similarity to opera.  Student will have the opportunity for solo and small group productions of musical scenes from the works studied and/or original creations, and have the chance to develop skills in drama, vocal music, and dance. 

    The syllabus is as follows:

    Beginnings of American Musical Theater (including vaudeville and operetta)

    Early Musicals (formula/plot format)

    Turning Point (song and dance relate to plot)

    Modern Musical (song and dance drive plot)

    Broadway Opera (song and dance are plot)

    Unique Musical Forms - modern musicals


    This course will be offered during the one semester and meets in the choral room, three days/cycle. 

    Course work....

    The Broadway Musical begins with Ziegfeld Follies and the influence from Vaudeville - really spectacular productions - horses on stage - comedy, operatic renditions, big choral and dance numbers.  There is virtually no plot, just different productions combined into one show.  

    Next, Funny Girl will demonstrate the changing times during Ziegfeld Follies.  Follies becomes a thing of the past and must change to survive.

    Next area of study -  the operetta in the United States (The Student Prince, Babes in Toyland, Pirates of Penzance) and the early Broadway musicals (42nd Street, Little Johnny Jones)

    We will continue studying Broadway through Singing in the Rain, which shows the transition from silent movies to talking movies.  This gives some American history, which affected Broadway.

    At this point it will be time to show off your skills.  We will form groups of 3-5 and perform for the class.  Do not let this scare you.  I will explain more later.

    Next, the study of a mid-20th century musical: reading of the libretto and listening to the songs, plus viewing of video production.  To include works by Cole Porter ("Anything Goes" ) and Rodgers and Hammerstein ("South Pacific") The project for this section of the course will be an audition for the class with critique by peers and teacher.

    We will then study Stephen Sondheim and his musical Into the Woods.  We will compare and contrast two different performances and discuss the literary meaning behind the performances.

    The course concludes with the study of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera.

    The final project is the creation of a scheme/theme for a Broadway musical.  Students will prepare the outline of a musical in the hopes of "selling" it to financial backers.  The outline will include such things as:  story line/plot, characters, scenery description, costuming, songs titles.



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