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The History of Musicals

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Kailee Brandt

on 2 May 2014

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Transcript of The History of Musicals

The History of Musicals
Continental Operetta-1840
Vaudeville & Burlesque
Vaudeville and Burlesque are also combined into one category even though burlesque is more R-rated and vaudeville is family-friendly
Popularized theatre because both were light-hearted and a get-away from real life
Often pulled music from other operas to use in their performance (Cinderella, 1841)
George L. Fox-best known burlesque actor
-Best performance came from burlesque
Vaudeville also became known as variety
-Tony Pastor was known as the
"Father of Vaudville"
What is a musical?
In theatre, a musical is a piece where singing and dancing are significantly present
"a large popular genre with many sub-genreseach with its own formulas and conventions and reflection of values" (Mates, p. 3)
Originated from opera
Depression Era (1930s)
Like the economy, musical theatre came to a screeching hault during the Great Depression
However, in large cities like New York and Chicago, the employed still bought tickets to the theatre
More black musicals were performed than ever before
-Less physical production
-Sets and costumes were minimal
-Blacks were willing to work for less than whites
Porgy and Bess
-Although it was not an extremely successful show, it provided long-term employment for many
The Forty's (1940-1950)
With so many men fighting in the second world war, women really took over musical theatre
Rodgers & Hammerstein's,
was the hit of the decade
The plot, music, and dance were all inter-mingled together and supported one another
The 40's were the start of a very successful career for both Rodgers & Hammerstein
Broadway! (1950-1963)
In the 1950s, Broadway really took off-largely because of the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein
Many of the pieces that originated in this time are still widely performed today
The King and I
-Me and Juliet
-The Sound of Music
-Guys and Dolls
-The Music Man
-West Side Stor
Popular music began to be songs that originated on Broadway
Jazz Age (1920s)
With the war finally over, the Roaring 20's have made a grand entrance bringing lots of upbeat and wild times
Musicals followed this trend and brought a breath of fresh air to the stage
Sometimes referred to as the dollar decade, the twenties were full of economic growth which allowed people to visit the theatre more often
People's interest in politics was at an all-time low
Instead, the focus was Cinderella stories
Al Jolson became the hit musical star and often performed in blackface
Gilbert & Sullivan
William Gilbert: most popular playwright
Arthur Sullivan: England's most successful composer
The two men were introduced to each other by Richard Carte who believed together, the two men could make musical "magic"
Gilbert and Sullivan worked for three weeks and came up with Trial by Jury which critics simply adored
After this performance, Gilbert and
Sullivan were in high demand
Gilbert & Sullivan's success raised
everyone's expectations

Turn of the Century (1900)
Musical Comedy (1800s)
War time
During this wartime, people did not want to go to the theatre and hear more about the tragic things that were happening
Only 7 musicals addressed the topic of war
Instead they went back to comedies to try and lift spirits
These comedies had extremely long runs
-Chu Chin Chow (2,238 shows)
-Hellzapoppin' (1,404 shows)
-The Maid of the Mountain (1,352 shows)
The Sixties
Like the 50's, this decade has many performances that have withstood the test of time
However, there were also a number of performances that did not ever take off and were marked as "failures"
Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim, both composers and lyricists, both saw their careers bloom at this time
-Hello, Dolly
-A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Nineteen Ninety
With the nineties came an off-broadway movement and many films being transformed to musicals
City of Angels
-Miss Saigon
The majority of the films that were transformed came from Walt Disney
The Lion King
-Beauty and the Beast
The Lion King
is the highest grossing musical on broadway
These performances really progressed costume and make-up design
Rock Age (1970s)
Musicals decided to go in a different direction and focused on Rock Music
This was an attempt to focus on what was happening in the present day instead of the past
The movement took off with
in 1967
Following this trend were
-Jesus Christ Superstar
-Rocky Horrow Pictureshow
-Two Gentlemen of Verona
The end of the decade brought darker and more costly productions
-Sweeny Todd
The 21st Century
The 20th century brought a mixture of both pushing the limits and bringing back the classics

Performances like Urinetown, Spring Awakening, and Next to Normal touched on some heavy topics and things that are usually kept quiet

At the same time, Cats, Fiddler on the Roof, and Grease were just as big while staying conservative

On Broadway, we also see even more films coming to the stage:
-Spider Man
-Legally Blonde
One of the first dramatic arts to encom-
pass and attract large groups because of
it's mass appeal
Many of the productions did not seem to
have a plot, but rather scenes tied toget-
her with music and the same characters
Became a great source of employment
because they needed so many people
specializing in different aspects
(composer, director,
The Black Crook
-Known as the first "book musical" and the origin of burlesque
Tony Pastor
Became musical theatre's #1 competition
Originated in Paris, France
Jakob (Jacques) Offenbach-14 year old Jewish musician who became one of the most successful composers & musical director
-opened a small 50-seat theatre to create a more intimate atmostphere for the audience
Operetta's took over the
theatre world
Princess Theatre-created by the Schubert brothers
Built in New York in 1913
Audiences were not interested in the Princess theatre at first until they brought musicals to the stage
Jerome Kern became the face of the Princess Theatre
-Overslept and missed a boat to Lusitania which capsized three days later
-Musical theatre continued to evolve
because of Kern
Chu Chin Chow
Maids of the Mountain
Guys and Dolls
Me and Juliet
The King and I
West Side Story
The Music Man
Hello, Dolly
Sweeny Todd
Rocky Horror Pictureshow
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